Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has his anti-gun credentials firmly in place. No one in this country is really going to mistake him for a pro-gunner. That’s true of most governors in the northeastern United States, I’m afraid.
However, is it possible to be too anti-gun for the media?
Well, an editorial at a Connecticut news site certainly suggests that Lamont has crossed that line.
Second Amendment advocates have a legitimate gripe that one of Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders is effectively conflicting with the U.S. constitutional directive that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
So while we disagree with these irrational decisions by many of you to run out and buy guns in response to a pandemic, we will stand by your constitutional right to do so.
The right is infringed because state citizens cannot currently obtain a permit. And under Connecticut law, a person without a permit cannot purchase a firearm or ammunition or carry a firearm.
Instead, while letting the stores operate, Lamont in another order suspended the state law that prohibits state and local police from refusing to collect fingerprints for the purpose of a criminal-history record checks. In other words, while police could still theoretically process the fingerprints, the legal requirement that they do so was suspended by the order.
Now, that’s a huge problem. If people can’t get fingerprinted so they can get a required license, they are effectively deprived of their Second Amendment rights. This isn’t a three-day waiting period we’re talking about here either. While I disagree with those, a case can be made that such a waiting period doesn’t deny anyone their right, only delays it.
Yet as things stand, we don’t know the trajectory of the virus. We don’t know when things will get better, whether or not they’ll then get worse again, or anything. We don’t really know if we’ll get back to normal.
That makes the departments refusing to do fingerprinting an open-ended infringement and not a simple delay. While any delay is unconstitutional, one with no defined endpoint is particularly heinous.
It seems the editorial board somewhat agrees.
So while the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia vs. Heller, 2008, made it clear reasonable limits could be placed on the right to bear arms, it also found “the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home.”
The Connecticut Constitution states: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”
If someone who meets the legal requirements wants to buy a gun in response to a pandemic, it his or her right and it should not be infringed.
While they don’t outright side with the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and their lawsuit to challenge Lamont’s order, they offer important support.
It should be noted that the board does state their support for gun control–they’re not a bunch of pro-gun journalists who somehow ended up at the same place–but Lamont’s actions are too much even for them.
For one thing, the should be applauded for clearly having some principles. While I’m sure I disagree with the members of that board on so many different issues it’s not even funny, they made a stand based on their beliefs, a stand that will likely earn them scorn from their “side.” Yet stand they did.
Of course, they should also be applauded for being right on this. Lamont’s order that lifted the requirement for police departments to fingerprint people created this mess. He can unilaterally fix it, but he hasn’t. I can’t imagine he hasn’t heard of the problems his order has caused, yet he’s done nothing.
That’s because people like Lamont generally don’t give a damn about people like you. They don’t care about your fears or concerns, much less your rights. They’re fine with you being disarmed for as long as possible because they can claim that fewer guns mean less violence. Meanwhile, the criminals who actually cause the violence are still buying guns left and right. They don’t get licenses. They don’t get background checks. They only get fingerprinted when they’re arrested–those fingerprintings are still going on in Connecticut, it should be noted–and they buy guns regardless.
What the editorial board missed, though, was that this is something that can happen any time you place a licensing requirement on the right to bear arms. When you tell people they have to have a license to exercise that right, or any other, then what you’ve effectively done is taken the right and turned it into a privilege. You can only exercise your right if the state allows it.
Right now, they’re not. They’re permitting the very people who are responsible for a key step to refused to carry out that step, thus denying whole swaths of the state their constitutionally-protected right.
That’s what happens when you require licenses. It makes it far too easy to block law-abiding citizens from buying guns, particularly in the moments when they may feel they need to buy a gun the most.