There has been a lot of talk and chest thumping concerning the failed implementation of Connecticut’s “assault weapon” and “high-capacity” magazine registration scheme. It seems a significant number of people have ignored the law, and more probably have no idea they were supposed to register their stuff in the first place.
The Connecticut State Police received something like 50,000 registrations before or just after the deadline, and the swinging wild-ass guestimate (SWAG) as to how many rifles exist in Connecticut is between 100,000 and 350,000. Nobody really knows the actual number, but I think it’s safe to say thousands of owners did not register their rifles. My guess … of the people who knew about the registration requirements, a lot of those rifles have now been moved out-of-state, but there are still plenty of people who are not “in compliance” with the law.
And let’s not forget the requirement to register all of those “high capacity” magazines, of which there is almost no data concerning how many there are in the state.
What is the state to do? Rich Burgess from Connecticut Carry suggests the police start enforcing the law immediately or the legislature should repeal the law this spring, but – in my opinion - neither will happen. I totally understand why Burgess wants law enforcement to …
- Research and compile data on the sale of all “assault weapons” in Connecticut by pulling FFL records – or through some other state-controlled database – and create List ‘A’.
- Compare that information to registrations received. (List ‘B’)
- Issue arrest warrants for those on List ‘A’ but not on List ‘B’.
Why does Burgess and many others want the state to do this? It’s simple, they want a bunch of people arrested and charged with felonies so they can take on the state in the courts. The more the better. I totally agree, arresting hundreds if not thousands would have a huge impact. If there are anecdotal stories posted in the media concerning the arrest of one or two people, nobody will pay attention. Hundreds over a couple of weeks equals big national attention to the subject.
Unfortunately for Burgess and others – including Connecticut Carry’s Director Ed Peruta – the arrest of hundreds is not going to happen. Why not?
First, we must understand these lawmakers don’t give a damn about results. Their victory for this round was passage of the legislation and D.P. Malloy’s signature on the bill. They did something! In their warped minds they (partially) solved the problem. Their job is done, until the next opportunity comes up that will allow them to take one step forward. It’s the intention of the bill that matters. It’s the perception, not what happens after the legislation is put into place. Therefore, you’re not going to see state lawmakers or the governor make investigating and arresting these newly-born law-breakers a priority. Those few charged will have called attention to themselves in big ways, or it will be an add-on charge associated with something else. Sure, gun control nuts may puff their chest in front of the media about an arrest here or there, but there will be no law enforcement task force, that’s for certain.
Second, there is no money available to create List ‘A’ or List ‘B’ and compare the results. Even if they were able to easily create the lists and get a data dump of possible subjects, what are they going to do next? I don’t think that’s enough to create an arrest warrant for the simple fact no state documentation was ever required if the gun was sold, sold out of state, or stored out of state. Do you really think law enforcement has the staffing available to start investigating everyone on the final list? It’s not going to happen, see my first point. The politicians don’t care, and they will be perfectly happy if one or two people are arrested during the first year.
Look, I could be wrong, but I’m looking at this from the perspective of reason. Certainly, the new Connecticut gun laws are totally unreasonable, “feel good” legislation. But all “feel good” legislation is bred exclusively from the politician’s gene pool in their effort to do something, to fix a problem that never really existed in the first place.