On March 6, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Judiciary hosted a public hearing on guns and gun control legislation. It lasted approximately 12 hours, from 9:45 to 8:45 pm. At times it got emotional and testy.
Nearly 5,000 witnesses submitted written evidence, while more than 150 people gave remarks either in person or over an internet video.
The individuals speaking primarily for themselves were the municipal police chiefs, elected officials and representatives from gun-control, gun-rights, and Second Amendment advocacy organizations. They gave evidence and answered questions.
Gov. Ned Lamont presented two of four bills that were discussed at the hearing.
As The Epoch Times reported on Jan. 27Lamont is a pioneer in pushing legislation for gun control in a state that already has the most restrictive gun laws in America.
Connecticut is also ranked among the top states for gun crimes.
“The overwhelming majority of Connecticut residents want commonsense measures enacted that encourage gun safety and prevent harm from impacting our homes and our communities,” Lamont stated last month that his gun-control legislation would be announced by him in a statement. “This is especially needed to prevent tragic accidents, as well as instances of domestic violence and suicide.”
Lamont’s bills, if passed, would impose on private citizens—but largely exempt police, the military, and other government agencies—new gun restrictions, storage and safety requirements, fees, permitting procedures, and registration mandates.
The National Rifle Association’s legislative arm (NRA), identified the one-year old bill as “a” among the two other bills in the docket. “pro-gun” bill. One of these bills includes items that both sides of gun debate can agree on.
Nikki Goeser delivered her compelling testimony via remote. She opposed items in Lamont’s bill that would ban guns from establishments serving alcohol, and mandate safe and locked storage for firearms.
“In 2009, my husband, Ben, was shot seven times and killed in front of me by a man who I only realized that very night was stalking me,” Goeser. “This occurred inside of a restaurant that served alcohol in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a gun-free zone.
“Tennessee law at the time prohibited holders of handgun-carry permits from carrying guns in Tennessee restaurants, even if they were designated drivers like me. The law of that day meant that my legal permit firearm, which I carry for self-defense, was not allowed to enter these restaurants. That gun control law was strictly adhered to by me. My stalker did not. The permit to carry the gun was not available for him.
“He brought that gun into a gun-free zone illegally.”
Goeser spoke out about how Tennessee amended its laws and allows gun owners to take their gun into any business that sells alcohol.
Nikki Goeser also addressed parts of Lamont’s bills. There are many other improvements that could be made. H.B. No. 6667 And H.B. No. 6816 Connecticut’s gun laws would be amended to ban open carry of firearms outside of one’s residence, establish new regulations for the registration of ghost guns. This includes firearms that are made of kits or 3D printed. There will also be a 10-day wait period before a buyer can purchase a gun. Law enforcement will have an easier time matching an exempt bullet casing with the firearm that fired it. The minimum age to buy and own long guns (which include a hunting rifle) is now 21.
The written testimony Petitions to the Connecticut General Assembly were filed against the majority of the governor’s bills.
“In overwhelming numbers, the citizens were engaged and participated to express their objections to Governor Lamont’s bills,” Holly Sullivan, President of Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) in a conversation to The Epoch Times. “Consider that for H.B. 6667, nearly 4,000 testified in opposition and only 261 in favor.
“It goes to show that the people of Connecticut are not fooled by terms like ‘common sense’ gun laws and are critically thinking about their safety in a state failing to curb crime despite onerous gun control.”
Sullivan also noted, “As far as data is concerned, Connecticut has been consistently one of the most secure states in America. Since long before there were any of the most stringent gun laws, this has been true.
Three Republicans—Rep. Mark Anderson, Rep. Craig Fishbein, and Sen. Rob Sampson—and Rep. Travis Simms, a Democrat, co-sponsored H.B. No. 6817, a bill that the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legal Action (NRA-ILA) calls a “pro-gun” bill.
The act seeks to speed up the process through which the state approves a gun permit, eliminates certain gun licensing and permitting fees, removes some target shooting pistols from being included in the assault weapon ban, and requires the state to develop and put in place a mass shooting response plan.
H.B. No. 6834, “An Act Concerning Serious Firearm Offenses By Repeat Offenders,” did not receive as much attention in the hearing as the other three bills, but gun-control and gun-rights groups have both found merit and something to like in its contents.
The legislation aims to make repeat firearm offenders more accountable for their actions and provides law enforcement officials with new powers to arrest and detain those with firearm convictions who violate probation.
Connecticut—Its Place in the National Consciousness on Guns
Connecticut occupies a singularly poignant and emotional place and status in the national dialogue over guns.
The most deadly K-12 mass school shooting in U.S. history took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where on Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman, after shooting and killing his mother, fatally shot 20 children and six adults.
Firearms manufacture has also long been important and a major contributor to the state’s economy. Indeed, Connecticut played a founding role in commercial gun manufacturing in America.
Connecticut is also the home of companies that manufacture among the world’s most iconic guns: Colt Manufacturing (Colt), O.F. Mossberg & Sons (Mossberg), and Sturm, Ruger & Co. (Ruger).
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