Civil Liberties

Connecticut Pols Blame Underwhelming Gun Registration Figures on Postal Glitches, Propose Amnesty



Even before the Connecticut deadline passed for registering semi-automatic so-called "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines that can hold more than ten rounds, it was pretty obvious that noncompliance would be high. That's no shocker, since noncompliance with gun registration laws and other restrictions tends to be very high, in the U.S. and abroad. But if you needed any further confirmation that state officials are a little disapponted with the turnout, try this on for size: Blaming postal snafus, Governor Malloy and state lawmakers are already calling for an amnesty for scofflaws and a do-over on the effort to register scary-looking firearms and their magazines.

According to counts conducted at the close of registration period with the end of 2013, Connecticut gun owners registered 50,016 "assault weapons" and 38,290 high-capacity magazines. Swell. But how does that compare to the number that were supposed to be registered under the law?

As it turns out, the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research looked into just that issue in 2011. The numbers they came up with were guesstimates, at best, but those guesstimates … ummm … somewhat overshadow the number of registrations. Drawing on figures from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, the OLR says that the number of high-capacity magazines "could be in the tens of millions" with "over 2.4 million large capacity magazines in Connecticut that originated at the retail level."

Those magazines are a mix of handgun and rifle accessories, and largely extrapolated from relatively firm gun numbers based on National Instant Criminal Background Check System records. In terms of rifles that use high-capacity magazines—the sort of long guns likely to be classified as "assault weapons"—the OLR came up with 372,000.

That's millions of magazines, against 38,000 registrations, and almost 400,000 rifles, with 50,000 bits of paperwork filed. Hence, calls for an amnesty and extended registration period. The U.S. Postal Service must have really dropped the ball. Or, maybe, people are just tired of control-freak politiicans who build on and abuse every intrusive policy they impose.

Amnesty. Yeah, good luck with that.