Connecticut gun control clears House

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

When Connecticut passed its assault weapon ban in the wake of Sandy Hook, it was with the understanding that those who already had such weapons would be left alone, that the ban would only impact future sales.

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This, coupled with the general sense of upset over the shooting itself, creates a situation where gun owners might not have been as vocal there as they might otherwise have been.

After all, their guns weren’t being touched, just future gun purchases.

However, we all know that once the gun control ball starts rolling, it never stops unless it’s forced to stop. Which is part of why gun control passed the Connecticut House.

The House voted Thursday to advance a sweeping package of gun regulations including provisions expanding Connecticut assault weapons ban, increasing bail requirements for certain repeat gun offenders and largely prohibiting the open carry of firearms.

Proponents hailed the bill, which will head to the Senate on a 96-51 vote, the most significant update of Connecticut’s gun laws since a landmark law passed a decade ago in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Rep. Steve Stafstrom, a Bridgeport Democrat who co-chairs the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, said that mass shootings have become even more common in the years since.

“As we see other states around the nation recklessly retreat from sensible gun regulations, Connecticut will continue to lead,” Stafstrom said. “Connecticut will continue to stand strong and push to make our communities and our streets safer.”

The legislation broadens the assault weapons ban passed after the Newtown shooting to include more weapons with banned features as well as previously exempted weapons manufactured before September of 1994. Residents who already own these guns will have until next May to register them with the state.

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Now, I oppose banning open carry. I’m personally not a fan of it, but it’s not the government’s place to determine what manner in which someone decides to carry their firearm.

But the new restrictions on so-called assault weapons are a bigger issue to me.

In the wake of Sandy Hook, Connecticut lawmakers said they needed to do something to prevent another such tragedy, which is why they passed the laws that currently stand.

While I’d argue the laws didn’t really do all that much, there hasn’t actually been anything on the scale of Sandy Hook in the decade since.

So why target these guns now?

If you believe the laws on the books are the reason there hasn’t been another such shooting in Connecticut, then there’s no reason to push for such laws to be expanded. After all, if they’re doing the job, what more could you ask for?

And let’s be clear, anti-Second Amendment types always believe the laws on the books are why it hasn’t happened again, even if it was rare before the law was passed.

As for those who accepted the first assault weapon ban back in the day, this is what happens.

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Lawmakers used the tragic slaughter of innocent kids to start the gun control ball, but your guns are never going to be safe in that state until people recognize this for what it is, an attack on a basic civil liberty. They will continue to find excuses to winnow away people’s rights until and unless people demand they stop.

Right now, the best chance for that is the state Senate, but don’t exactly hold your breath on that happening.

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