Gun Control

Connecticut Shouldn't Be Surprised That "Fewer People Than Expected Have Registered Weapons"

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AR-15
TheAlphaWolf

Earlier this year, Connecticut politicians took advantage of the horrific Newtown shootings to dust off a wish list of draconian firearms restrictions and race them through the legislative process into law. The restrictions wouldn't have prevented the mass murder—they would have been completely irrelevant to the crime, in fact—which may be why they were rammed through under "emergency certification" with no referrals to committees or public hearings. Among other things, the new law requires registration of "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines by January 1, 2014. Any student of history could have predicted officials' current concerns now that relatively few residents are complying with the law and telling the state what they own as the deadline fast approaches.

According to Hugh McQuaid at CT News Junkie:

As of mid-November, the state had received about 4,100 applications for assault weapon certificates and about 2,900 declarations of large-capacity magazines.

Michael Lawlor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's criminal justice advisor, said that so far fewer people than expected have registered weapons under the new law. However, he said gun owners should take seriously the consequences of ignoring the law. Disregarding the registration requirements can carry felony charges in some cases, which can make Connecticut residents ineligible to own guns.

First-time offenders who can prove they owned the weapon before the law passed, and have otherwise followed the law, may be charged with a class A misdemeanor. In other cases, possessing one of the newly-banned guns will be considered a felony that carries with it a sentence of at least a year in prison.

"If you haven't declared it or registered it and you get caught . . . you'll be a felon. People who disregard the law are, among other things, jeopardizing their right to own firearms. If you're not a law-abiding citizen, you're not a law-abiding citizen," Lawlor said.

Mike Lawlor
State of Connecticut

Mr. Lawlor (pictured at right), like most government officials, seems to think he and his buddies have invented policy out of whole cloth, and that the population has no choice but to shuffle along and obey. But weapons registration laws have a history—a consistent history, as I've written, of noncompliance and defiance.

State officials could have taken a moment to glance across the state line to New York City, where a few tens of thousands of firearms are owned legally, and an estimated two million are held illegally, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. That is not uncommon. In my piece on the history of gun control's failure, I wrote:

The high water mark of American compliance with gun control laws may have come with Illinois's handgun registration law in the 1970s. About 25 percent of handgun owners actually complied, according to Don B. Kates, a criminologist and civil liberties attorney, writing in the December 1977 issue of Inquiry. After that, about 10 percent of "assault weapon" owners obeyed California's registration law, says David B. Kopel, research director for Colorado's Independence Institute, a free-market think-tank, and author of The Samurai, The Mountie, and The Cowboy, a book-length comparison of international firearms policies.

That one-in-10 estimate may have been generous. As the registration period came to a close in 1990, The New York Times reported "only about 7,000 weapons of an estimated 300,000 in private hands in the state have been registered."

Connecticut may want to look close to home for even lower compliance figures. In New Jersey, reported The New York Times in 1991, after the legislature passed a law banning "assault weapons," 947 people registered their rifles as sporting guns for target shooting, 888 rendered them inoperable, and four surrendered them to the police. That's out of an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 firearms affected by the law.

Over the years, officials in New York City and California used registration records to confiscate guns, in violation of their own promises. That's a lesson that firearms owners have taken to heart in this country (and elsewhere), probably permanently dooming the enforceability of such laws.

The end result of pushing through gun laws that people won't obey is very predictable. You end up with a society in which people continue to own vast numbers of weapons regardless of the law. Connecticut may be on the way, sometime after the new year's registration deadline, to turning itself into a replica of Germany, where up to 20 million unregistered firearms are held in addition to 7.2 million legal ones, or France, where as many as 17 million illegal guns overshadow 2.8 million legal ones.

If you bother to learn from history, it shouldn't be a surprise that people stop caring whether they're "not a law-abiding citizen" when they lose respect for the law and the people who inflict it on them.

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  1. “If you bother to learn from history”
    That’s a REALLY BIG “IF”.

    1. History tells us that registration is the first necessary step to confiscation.

  2. Oh, and FIRST!!

    1. You may have been first to comment, but I was first to cream my jeans when I saw the photo of those sexy, sexy Freedom Tools.

      1. Bah. My 15 year old daughter has more and better guns than that in her closet.

  3. Damn you twoChili, that photo is NSFW in some places!

    1. Restoras, given in our earlier discussion about local governments trying to bar casinos from opening in their locales, when you said that you support such efforts because ‘a community has a right to organize itself according to the wishes of its voters,’ does that mean you are OK with Connecticut or, if that is too big a jurisdiction for your, NYC or CT towns barring guns (or gun stores)?

      1. Don’t think I said anything about infringing on the 2A or even anything that implied that, Wise and All-Knowing Arbiter of All Things Libertarian Bo.

        1. He’s just asking questions.

        2. I am not all wise or knowing about libertarianism or anything else, but I do know a few things about the first.

          Here is what you said:

          -I also support the power of a local community to organize itself as it sees fit.

          and

          -To the extent that local voters wish to bar certain activities (providing they don’t infringe on the Bill of Rights) it is their community and they should be allowed to organize it as they see fit.

          So I am interested now, you support local voters barring certain activities, but not 2nd Amendment ones (I am curious, is that the 2nd Amendment as caselaw currently sees it, or some interpretation of your own), or other infringements on the BoR.

          So does that mean you ‘support the power of a local community’ to set a 15 dollar minimum wage, or adopt zero tolerance school policies, or ban the wearing of ‘saggy drawers’ or smoking in one’s house. None of that is an infringement of any of the express provisions of the BoR. You are OK with that? Or is it just operating a casino that gets you all democratic?

          1. The suspense is killing me…

          2. You tell me, Bo. You are the Arbiter.

            1. I am not the arbiter of your thoughts, which at this time strike me as incoherent.

              It really amazes me that someone could come onto a libertarian discussion group, say ‘To the extent that local voters wish to bar certain activities it is their community and they should be allowed to organize it as they see fit’ and not have anyone go ‘what in the world?’ This is what passes for libertarianism around here?

              1. I dunno Bo, I am just a knuckledragging SoCon to you that’s why I want you to tell me how to think like a libertarian.

                This is what passes for libertarianism around here?

                I am sure there are commenters here that disagree with my viewpoints, so I would hazard a guess and say “no”, but you’d have to ask them. I disagree with others but try to respect their view and understand it but I guess that’s just my inner SoCon.

                1. Again, you can hide behind your snark, but let us remember what was going on: you felt the need to stalk and mock me as if my comments regarding SoCons, on a libertarian site, somehow did not belong.

                  When I challenge you on that I said, essentially, what is your problem with my posts? And in the subsequent discussion you detailed your problem, that local voters should be able to restrict voluntary transactions between adults. If that is your view, fine. But how about you stop trying to be the Arbiter of what belongs on a libertarian site seeing as how you do not believe in pretty fundamental aspects of libertarianism?

                  1. I have offended the Arbiter and I beg forgiveness! I would never, and have never, usurped your title of Arbiter of All-Things Libertarian.

  4. “Connecticut may be on the way, sometime after the new year’s registration deadline, to turning itself into a replica of Germany…”

    You know who else passed gun registration laws, and in Germany…?

    FIRST TO GODWIN!!!!

    1. Hermes Conrad: We can’t compete with Mom! Her company is big and evil! Ours is small and neutral!

      That Guy: Switzerland is small and neutral! We are more like Germany, ambitious and misunderstood!

      Amy Wong: Look, everyone wants to be more like Germany, but do we really have the pure strength of will?

    2. Godwin does not apply to subjects where the Nazis are a valid comparison. Gun control is one of those. Eugenics is another.

  5. Anyone from a smaller town in CT could have told you this (and I believe I did after the new laws were passed). All my dad’s ex-Marine friends when I was a kid had full-auto AK-47’s that they brought back from Vietnam, and they would talk about them openly. When you live in towns that don’t have cops, who is going to enforce this shit? Especially when no one cares?

    1. They were able to bring fully automatic weapons home with them from another country?

      What a different time that must have been.

      Certainly it was one of rampant mass murder, right?

      1. “What a different time that must have been.”

        How old are you Bo? It was a very different time indeed. When I was in the 6th grade attending the NRA gun and hunting safety course at school was required. At one session Randy N. brought a shmeisser MP-40 that his daddy brought back from the war to class for show and tell. He rode the bus to and from school with it slung over his shoulder. It was cool. Nobody thought a thing about it, and amazingly no one got shot.

        1. Bo is Arbiter of All Things Libertarian. He is ageless and forever!

          1. No, no. He’s just asking questions.

          2. Look, you let your mask slip earlier. Your snark does not take back what you wrote for all to see.

            1. Are you unliked here, Bo? Why?

            2. Dear Great and Powerful Arbiter, I have been commenting here for a few years though I am honestly not sure how long. I will leave it to you to comb through what I’ve said and determine how I should think.

              1. It is amusing that you play this Arbiter snark, since our discussion started with your obsessive stalking of my posts criticizing social conservatives advocating violating the NAP. In just a few exchanges we found out the problem that you, as Arbiter, had with my posts: you support localities imposing their socially conservative NAP violations on others.

                Now that you let the mask slip, and I point out the implications, you and some of your SoCon leaning buddies would like to Snark like middle schoolers. But do you expect a libertarian to go ‘oh yeah, sure, as long as local voters restrain liberty, that is fine, now let’s get back to dumping on Obama and praising Ted Cruz!’?

                1. you support localities imposing their socially conservative NAP violations on others

                  I don’t think I did, Wise and Powerful Arbiter.

                  1. Here is what you said:

                    -I also support the power of a local community to organize itself as it sees fit.

                    and

                    -To the extent that local voters wish to bar certain activities (providing they don’t infringe on the Bill of Rights) it is their community and they should be allowed to organize it as they see fit.

                    1. I don’t see anything in those words specific to SoCons, but maybe my vocabularly knowledge is not as good as yours.

        2. It was a joke, Suthenboy.

    2. I assume they never bothered to register them in the ’68 amnesty? Because only a retard would have done that.

      1. Most of these guys came back later, like 1970 and after. And they wouldn’t have bothered anyway. Why should they? The only reason they would ever have to interact with a cop would be if they did something stupid, and it would have to be stupid enough to get their home searched by the state cops. They weren’t that stupid.

    3. “… who is going to enforce this shit?”

      If Connecticut is anything like Louisiana then the sheriffs, elected by the people they are enforcing the laws against, of course. That will go just swimmingly.

      1. Connecticut is nothing like Louisiana (and most of the country) in that it has no counties. I mean, it has lines on a map, but there is no county government whatsoever. Therefore, no sheriffs. If your town doesn’t have a police force, then there are only the state police to worry about.

        Many, many towns don’t have police forces. It’s quite nice.

        1. Ahhhhh. I like the mostly no cops thing, but if you have to have them I prefer having the chief law enforcement officer in each parish elected by the people they serve.

          We get some bad apples now and then, but for the most part, not. They are very sensitive to the will of the people that hire them.

          Gun confiscation here would have to be done by the feds and I daresay it would spark a shooting war. Guns are rather popular here.

          1. I don’t think you understand how little police presence we are talking about. It’s way, way better than living somewhere with a county sheriff’s department (which I have done in multiple places). When I was a kid I might see a state police car once every few days, and that was only on major roads (CT, being old, is riddled with countless back roads that the cops never even go on). If you were drunk you could get home entirely on roads the cops never even bothered to go down. Cop response time to a high school party in the woods was so slow they just didn’t bother. Stuff like that.

            It’s always better to have less cops. I don’t care if they’re locally elected or not, less cops is far better.

            And as you can see from the article, guns are rather popular in CT, and everywhere. And people don’t like to let the government know about them.

            1. I did come off sounding a little pro-cop there. It was unintended. I appreciate what you are saying.

            2. Pity you didn’t take more interest in the government and prevent these laws.

              Because at some point, the government is going to take an interest in you.

          2. I forgot to add my complaint that state police are minimally accountable to the voters.

    4. When you live in towns that don’t have cops, who is going to enforce this shit? Especially when no one cares?

      At a town meeting a while back some woman complained that the newly legal fireworks were disturbing her cat, and asked the town selectmen to restrict their use beyond what state law allowed. He said that because the town has no police force, and since the state troopers and sheriffs don’t give a shit about town ordinances, there would be no way to enforce it. Someone in the gallery suggested earmuffs for the shell-shocked cat.

      1. That’s New England towns for you.

        1. I’m not complaining. I finally got my old .38 fixed, and now I can do target practice in my backyard because there are no town cops to enforce any ordinances banning the use of firearms. Show me a town with a police force, and I’ll show you someplace where you can’t legally do target practice in your backyard.

          1. Having no one to enforce a law against something you are doing and doing it legally are not quite the same thing. Close, but not the same.

            Bullets do odd and unexpected things. Shooting in town is dangerous.

            I used to shoot skwerls in my grandfathers yard in residential area in Pineville. I baited them down to the ground and shot down at them into the dirt with a Beeman pellet rifle. I did that until the neighbor showed up holding a pellet, obviously mine, that he claimed had stuck in his wife’s hair. I was completely baffled as to how that could have happened, but I stopped shooting anyway.

            1. There’s no local ordinances because the town doesn’t pass ordinances that it can’t enforce with it’s non-existent police force.

              1. Ah. Ok.

  6. If I want to peacefully surrender my weapons, I’ll just hand them in and skip the paperwork.

    Because a registered weapon is one that you possess at the sufferance of the state, and registration is historically a prelude to confiscation.

    1. RC, do you think the same concerning registration of, say, cars or dogs?*

      *I am not a supporter of gun registration by the way (or cars or dogs for that matter). Just curious if you think in those cases registration amounts to handing them in or possession at the sufferance of the state.

      1. Yes it does.

        Except you have to take your dog outside to give him any quality of life, while you can keep your guns hidden from the state’s prying eyes.

        I register my dog to deprive the bastards of an excuse to send him to the gas chamber, and because they won’t dare to try to take all the dogs away (all that bad press!). If dog owners were demonized and faced the risk of having SWAT sent to their homes instead of regular cops simply because a firearm was registered to be stored there, the dog wouldn’t be registered. And I’d be stamping counterfeit registration tags in the basement for $5.00 a pop.

      2. Well, pit bulls are banned in Miami-Dade, so I’m sure the people who registered their dogs prior to the ban could comment.

        1. -pit bulls are banned in Miami-Dade

          Egregious.

      3. kinda tough to hide a car and cops will stop folks with expired tags. That one falls under ‘sufferance of the state’ as one of the things I may not like but accept.

      4. I would imagine it’s not a concern, as politicians and the media don’t natter on nigh endlessly about the desperate need to get dangerous cars off the streets every time a traffic accident happens.

        1. But think green vehicles. If they require certain mpg by law, they may come after your restored 69 Chevelle. Because of registration they will know right where to go.

      5. RC, do you think the same concerning registration of, say, cars or dogs?

        No, because there isn’t a long history of registration preceding confiscation.

        Yes, that history is primarily overseas, but there are reports of CA using their registration lists to raid homes where someone who isn’t allowed to own guns lives. So its started here, at least.

        The real question, of course, is what other purpose registration could possibly serve?

        1. The real question, of course, is what other purpose registration could possibly serve?

          The purpose of these laws isn’t necessarily to get people to register their guns in preparation for confiscation, but rather to confiscate guns from people who don’t register them.

        2. For example when someone uses an unregistered weapon to stop a crime, they can be locked up longer than the criminal they stopped.

        3. -No, because there isn’t a long history of registration preceding confiscation.

          Fair enough, you did note that in your original comment.

    2. do you think the same concerning registration of, say, cars or dogs?

      The purpose of vehicle and dog registrations are revenue collection, not confiscation.

  7. Gun control legislation isn’t passed with the expectation that they’ll work. I’m quite sure legislators are ambivalent and perhaps even agnostic with regard to efficacy. These laws are pure resume fodder for national politics. No primary Democratic voter will grill a candidate on the effectiveness of his laws, but checking that box next to supports gun control is sine qua non to running a serious campaign.

    1. Abortion restriction legislation isn’t passed with the expectation that they’ll work. I’m quite sure legislators are ambivalent and perhaps even agnostic with regard to efficacy. These laws are pure resume fodder for national politics. No primary Republican voter will grill a candidate on the effectiveness of his laws, but checking that box next to hates abortion is sine qua non to running a serious campaign.

      (Not getting on you, Dweebston, just noting a thematic parallel.)

      1. I hadn’t thought about it, but you’re right. Unenforceable laws, or laws that push certain behaviors into the shadows, should be recognized as not only ineffective but effectively neutering lawmakers’ capacity for dealing with those behaviors. Blanket bans don’t marginalize behaviors so much as give life to them elsewhere, often with catastrophic results (drugs, alcohol) or predictable consequences (ciggy taxes making smuggling profitable).

        1. And they cost the state quite a bit of money to defend in court. The NY and CA use of registrations to seize guns will probably get this overturned, assuming SCOTUS can see it before Obama packs the court.

  8. People are still registering with the state as Jews though, right?

    1. I put my tag around my neck, next to the bag of gold.

    2. We’re all Jews now.

  9. I shouldn’t give them ideas but just how does this bureaucrat expect to enforce the consequences of being ignored and create a state full of felons?

    1. It becomes a useful tool, kind of like speed limits that no-one obeys.

      Since everyone is breaking the law routinely as they drive a car, pulling them over legally is a dawdle.

      Remember that lady who had her files on the Coast Guard confiscated? The cops were officially searching for the firearms her husband had openly but illegally owned for a decade. It gives them an excuse to go in – an excuse that absent the law they would not have.

  10. Wouldn’t Connecticut requiring people who purchased the firearms and high cap magazines to register or be subject to criminal prosecution be a violation of Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution barring ex post facto laws?

    1. To clarify, those people who made their purchases prior to the law being enacted.

    2. Ex post facto laws like the ones that require sex offenders to register though the registration laws were passed long after they were convicted and released?

      I think that ship has sailed.

      1. Not just registering, they are ‘committing’ these people after they have been convicted and their sentence done.

        Of course they are sex offenders who have no rights, so that is OK.

        1. If the government ever goes dystopian on us and starts implanting microchips into people, they’ll start with the sex offenders. I mean, it’s not like they’re human or anything. They’re sex offenders.

  11. Good. Fuck these scum.

    1. Hear, hear.

      The way progressives pine to return to feudalism sickens me.

      Their stupid notion that they would end up as the aristocrats calling the shots would be funny if it weren’t for all the suffering caused by the brutal sociopaths who *would* end up on top of the heap.

  12. Laws like this aren’t intended to get people to register their guns. They’re intended to turn gun owners into criminals.

    1. “Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against . . . The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers.”
      ~’Floyd Ferris’, bureaucrat ? Atlas Shrugged

      1. My favorite Ayn Rand quote by far.

  13. First-time offenders who can prove they owned the weapon before the law passed, and have otherwise followed the law, may be charged with a class A misdemeanor.

    “Presumption of innocence? Burden of proof? Where the fuck do you think you are, SOMALIA?”

    1. These laws are to protect the children! The constitution isn’t a suicide pact!

  14. Regarding the discussion above that touched on cars. My ex-wife’s grandfather(rest his soul) was born around 1900. When he was young, if you wanted to drive a car, you know what you did ? You just bought a car and drove it. No registration of the car, no license for the person.

    Imagine if cars did not exist, and were invented today. I honestly don’t think the government would allow them in private hands. Some of the panic I heard last night about Amazon using drones (“A disaster waiting to happen”) makes me think the nannies would never allow cars in private hands.

    1. I wonder what Bo the Arbiter thinks of this.

      1. He’s a Master Debater

  15. We’re going to need a bigger boating accident.

  16. “If you’re not a law-abiding citizen, you’re not a law-abiding citizen,” Lawlor said.

    Any bets on whether this guy refers to illegal aliens as “undocumented aliens”?

  17. The only reason they would ever have to interact with a cop would be if they did something stupid, and it would have to be stupid enough to get their home searched by the state cops. I think

  18. I am happy to say that I have sold my house, left CT behind. The taxes and regulation have increased to the point of absurdity, although the absurdity will get even worse as time goes on. My money and my guns are elsewhere, Mr Lawlor and Gov. Malloy. Buh bye!
    I left before I had to shoot my out as a Felon. Who would have known the freedom and liberty afforded by 2nd amendment could cause one to become a felon.

  19. So when will they update the license plate slogan?

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