In Connecticut, after you serve your time in jail and complete your probation for killing a person with a knife, there is no requirement – or current suggestion by lawmakers – to require you “register” as a knife offender. Heck, there is no requirement you register with the state even if you are a convicted murderer. But if you commit your crime with a gun, you’re a different class of scumbag.
At least, that’s what Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D) thinks as he proposes registration for anyone who commits a “serious” gun crime. I guess he’s not too concerned if you whack someone with a baseball bat.
Look, I’m all for sending violent criminals to jail for a long time, but come on now, this is simply more feel-good legislation that will do little to stop criminals from committing crimes. If a previous offender wants to get a gun and commit another crime, it’s going to happen.
Once a violent gun criminal gets out of prison, we have more than 20 adult probation offices around the state with probation officers tasked with monitoring parolees. The regular monitoring – with frequency defined by the court or parole board I would assume – includes a requirement those on probation bring proof of where they live and work to every appointment.
If these criminals are a threat, prison sentences should be longer or their probation period should be extended and restrictions revised.
As noted in the Hartford Courant, during law enforcement’s lawful contact with an individual, they are able to find out if there is a criminal history for that person being interviewed. Looney suggests requiring gun offenders to register with their local police department will make them act more responsibly since LEOs may be “watching” them.
During the hearing before the legislature’s public safety committee, several lawmakers questioned why the registry was needed. They pointed out that a national crime database already contains information about gun offenders. But Looney and other supporters said the registry, unlike the national database, would give law enforcement the ability to pinpoint where the offenders live.
And, like the sex-offender registry, the mere fact of filing with local authorities “creates a psychological impact of knowing [the offender] is being watched more closely,” Looney said.
Looney is lying. If “creating a psychological impact” really was his primary goal, he’d suggest registration for felons who did not use a firearm during their crimes. Those of us in Connecticut know Looney is all about gun legislation, any gun legislation, that puts a negative spin on firearms in general.