Gun control bill shows how useless grandfather clauses are

Gun control bill shows how useless grandfather clauses are
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

When someone wants to ban a particular type of gun, they’ll often include some kind of grandfather clause. The idea is that if someone isn’t about to have their personal weapon deemed illegal, they might not resist the bill as hard as if they actually stood to lose something.

Such grandfather clauses are common, particularly with assault weapon bans. After all, a ton of people have AR-15s or similar rifles.

But Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont stands ready to teach people an important lesson about these clauses.

They’re just holding actions.

Just days after declaring his intent to crack down on “ghost” guns and open carry, Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday announced a plan to reinforce the state’s longstanding ban on military-style weapons, including closing the loophole for weapons manufactured before 1994.

“There’s a lot of gun peddlers out there who are trying to sell these things and trying to work around our system every day,” Lamont said. “You see that by the fact that they go out and buy assault weapons pre-1994, and say ‘I’m going to get them in some Southern state and I’m going to bring them here to Connecticut and I can sell them legally.”

Except, they can’t. That’s not a pre-1994 firearm and a check of the serial number will show that.

Now, I’m not saying dealers aren’t doing that or anything–I don’t know one way or another–but I will say that nothing about that is “legal” based on the law on the books. That law isn’t constitutional, in my opinion, but that’s a different matter, and such sales should be considered legal, again in my opinion, but the law in Connecticut doesn’t hinge on my opinions.

But let’s also acknowledge that calling a grandfather clause a “loophole” is nothing more than an attempt to provide propaganda to support Lamont’s effort.

See, people held onto their guns from before 1994 because the law explicitly excluded those weapons. You might be able to buy or sell those guns, but people didn’t just turn their guns in because they didn’t have to. That was because the grandfather clause was intentionally placed there so as to not require people to do any such thing.

What Lamont is doing here is proving that such clauses aren’t really a guarantee that your guns won’t be taken. It’s just a holding action designed to appease gun owners in the short term, just long enough until they think they’ve got the votes to swoop in and snatch them away from you.

That grandfather clause will, in time, likely be smothered to death in its sleep with a pillow of anti-gun lawmakers get their way.

It’s also why fighting for grandfather clauses in gun control is, ultimately, a fool’s bargain. It’s great if you can repeal the laws in due course, but otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before they come for them anyway.

Lamont, with his desire to take away everyone’s so-called assault weapons, is doing untold damage to gun control efforts, too. After all, there’s no way I’m the only one who sees the problem here. There’s little chance that no one else sees that grandfather clauses are meaningless if politicians won’t abide by the compromise that created them.

It leads to things like “no compromise” gun rights organizations and advocates. It’s why so many of us refuse to give any ground on gun control ever.

It’s in part because compromises never hold. They’re just a settlement until they come back for the rest of your rights, as they’ve proven over and over again throughout the years.

Lamont tried this last year and failed. My hope, for the sake of Connecticut gun owners, is that he fails yet again.

Regardless, let us all heed the lessons here.