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Connecticut's Dangerous Weapon Offender Registry

Connecticut's gun law sets up the nation's first dangerous weapon offender registry.

April 15, 2013  |  by - Also by this author

Photo by Kelly Bracken.
Photo by Kelly Bracken.

One provision of Connecticut's stringent gun-control legislation passed earlier this month was lost in the politically-correct shouts of support and Second Amendment denunciations.

The legislation signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy on April 4 includes a stricter assault weapons ban, limit on magazine size, and eligibility rules for buying ammunition. It also includes the nation's first dangerous weapon offender registry. Since Gov. Malloy's stated goal is to reduce gun violence, let's take a closer look.

Those people prohibited from possessing any sort of firearm after Oct. 1 will fall into four categories. The first pertains to misdemeanors and would ban anyone convicted of such crimes as possessing one-half ounce of marijuana, unlawful restraint, and stalking.

The second category would ban anyone discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime "by reason of mental disease or defect."

The third category bans those ordered by a probate court to be confined in a hospital for psychiatric disabilities for the preceding 60 months. The disqualifying period is the preceding 12 months if the person holds a valid firearm-related certificate or license that was issued before Oct. 1.

The fourth category bans people who were voluntarily admitted to a hospital with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding six months. Admission solely for alcohol or drug dependency won't trigger the ban.

Connecticut also has a separate statute that bans possession of handguns by certain categories of people. To the handgun statute, the new bill would add categories three and four from the above list and increase the penalties for a conviction. The bill doesn't contain any law enforcement exceptions in this "prohibited persons" provision.

It does make logical sense to keep firearms out of the hands of people who have just been treated for psychiatric issues or adjudicated mentally ill. This effort should be applauded. It will probably save the life of an officer knocking on a mobile-home door after responding to a domestic disturbance call.

However, taking weapons out of the hands of people with low-level misdemeanor convictions, on the other hand, is nothing short of excessive government overreach.

The law seems to both overreach and fall short at the same time. Arguably, it doesn't go far enough in dealing with domestic violence. Intimate partner homicides account for about 30 percent of the murders of women and 5 percent of the murders of men, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Those people convicted of domestic violence felonies and misdemeanors or who are named in active protective orders should be temporarily denied gun-purchasing rights. Perhaps they could reapply after a prolonged waiting period or judicial review.

Will Connecticut's new law reduce gun violence or will it mostly serve the politicians who enacted it? Let me know your opinion by commenting below.

Tags: Gun Control Advocacy, Mentally Ill Subjects, Domestic Violence


Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Jack Betz @ 4/16/2013 3:14 PM

I TOLD YOU SO!

David @ 4/16/2013 3:43 PM

I think it will only serve the politicians better. You mentioned the backround checks they passed which, some of which im all for. the misdemeanor stuff i think is a little much as you say. but here is the thing. Im not sure why the state passed all the stuff, most of the active shooters in the last 19 years passed backround checks anyway. and the Newtown shooter stole his guns from his mom after killing her (in new york). so in essence they passed all this crap for what? hopefully it will save lives...but im skeptical. why didnt the state add some more officers to their schools or something like that? in the end these are just feel good laws that will never prevent the next school massacre. theres just too many guns in this country to control them. but sir you didnt mention the registration bs??? yes they passed the law that if you have an "assault weapon" it has to be registered...thats just crazy.

Retired deputy @ 4/15/2013 3:51 PM

The law in Connecticut is what happens when you let non gun owners pass bills , it's the worst law I ever read , it should be overturned by the US Supreme Court as a threat to the 2 nd amendment. people have no idea what will happen if these laws are adopted by other states, it will
Strip law bidding citizens of gun rights.

Dave @ 4/17/2013 4:13 AM

It makes a great deal of sence to keep weapons away from criminals, any criminals. An overwellming amount of gun violence is drug related. It is about time you start holding criminals accountable and leave those of us who obay the law alone.

Arby @ 4/17/2013 5:39 AM

Aside from fixing our broken mental health system just to make it actually helpful to society and the mentally ill, fixing it will help keep the mentally ill physically away from being able to purchase guns. Of course, they can still steal them from their sane family members, neighbors and friends, but it's a start. Secondly, even this start won't do anything at all if CT is one of the 23 states that currently does not report mental health information to the existing National Instant Background Check System, (NICS). Even if you agree with background checks, if the info isn't in there, what good is it as far as reducing the availability of firearms to the mentally ill? I won't even go into the registration part of this. As is, it benefits the politicians the most.

NJ Motorcop @ 4/19/2013 4:42 PM

"However, taking weapons out of the hands of people with low-level misdemeanor convictions, on the other hand, is nothing short of excessive government overreach."

Very true! But we should be going even further and looking at the overall picture, whether the convictions are misdemeanors or felonies. If you're beating up your spouse every week or getting into bar fights several times a month you probably shouldn't have a gun. However, I happen to know a man who was convicted of assault in a bar fight as a teenager. He was a US Navy sailor home on leave during WW2 and was defending another sailor who got jumped. He never did jail time, just paid a fine. 25 years later, without a single new blemish on his record, he was denied permision to purchase a .22 rifle for his sons. That is absurd! I also know a man who can't own a gun in my state because he was convicted of passing a bad check nearly 2 decades earlier. Since it was over $200 it was a felony. Another ridiculous case!

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