NOTE: This is a guest post by CCDL’s Fundraising Coordinator, Bob Ferguson.
We had a great CCDL meeting last night with 600+ in attendance. Tom Foley was there to speak to the membership and give his views on PA 13-3 and how the result would have been far different had he been governor. Brian Stapleton, our lead attorney was also there and he gave an excellent presentation on where our case stands, particularly in relation to recent the Federal decision on the NY S.A.F.E. Act. We also introduced ALL of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Here are the highlights.
Foley gave a good speech that addressed the new gun laws and his views on the 2nd Amendment. He also focused on the many other reasons that he wants to become Governor, including the poor economic mess that our state is in. His remarks made it clear that he IS a gun owner and a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment but he is also not a one-issue candidate. There was a brief Q&A session and Foley was asked if he would “repeal SB-1160.” his answer was: “If the legislature was so inclined — the chances of that happening this year is probably the definition of zero — if I were governor and the legislature put in front of me legislation that would reduce the burden on law-abiding gun owners, I would sign it,” I have read comments on other forums that this was a “weak” answer, which in my opinion is not the case. He simply stated that a Governor can’t repeal a law on his own. That has to come from the legislature. However, he said he would sign a repeal if we are able to change the legislature and they put one on his desk.
Brian Stapleton, the lead attorney in the case brought out several positive points about the SAFE act decision that were not widely reported by the media. Brian is also on the legal team for the NY case. Although the decision in the NY case isn’t binding to our case, he was very optimistic going in to the oral arguments on Jan 30th. They key positive in the NY decision was that the Magazine limitation was ruled unconstitutional and found to be “arbitrary” and in fact placed a burden on citizens’ rights to self-defense. That is almost verbatim to our argument in CT. The NY judge also invalidated the prohibition on semi-auto “copies” of fully automatic firearms. One of the most important decisions in the NY case was that the judge found that ALL the firearms in question were “in common use for lawful purposes” which IS the litmus test that the US Supreme Court applied in Heller. NY state and the State of CT have both argued that NONE of the semi-auto rifles or magazines they banned were prevalent in common use or represented a significant market share. This ruling gives us a FAR better case when this moves toward the 2nd Circuit court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The judge in our case is Alfred Covello who was appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1992. Regardless, whichever side looses in this round will clearly appeal the decision so it’s still a long fight.
In addition to the key speakers, Jonathan Hardy and Beth Drysdale gave an excellent presentation on how to testify at the legislature. There is little doubt that the gun-grabbers will be back for more this session and we can’t give in…not an inch. Last time they listened to NAA, MDA and CAGV. Now, they know that gun owners are a force to be reckoned with.
We also got to meet ALL the plaintiffs in the lawsuit face to face. These are some very courageous people to come forward and put their name on a lawsuit that will follow them for the rest of their lives. They deserve out gratitude. All-in-all, it was one of the best and largest CCDL meetings that I have attended.