DESPP Letter

A story has been going around the last few days supposedly about a confiscation letter (reprinted below) from the state going out to gun owners. CCDL was first sent a copy of that letter in early January. At that time, we were unable to find a single gun owner who had actually received the letter, so we kept it on the back burner. Well, a few days ago for some reason that letter turned up again, and this time it went viral. Some websites claim to have audio of State Police Spokesman Lt. Paul Vance admitting the letter is legit. Now, I don’t know if the letter is real or not. What I do know is that it is now almost 2 months past the deadline to register so called “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines”, and we still don’t know of a single legitimate gun owner who has received this letter. Every story has started with “I have a friend who knows somebody……”.

We also have it from reliable sources that although DESPP did indeed draft a letter like this (they would not say if this was the actual text or not), as of right now it has not (yet) been sent to a single gun owner. We do know that people who submitted wrong or incomplete registrations are being contacted and given the chance to correct the mistakes.

So basically, at best the stories going around are inaccurate and/or misleading at this time. Perhaps the reason this letter went viral is we all know that sooner or later (most likely later, like after the November elections) a letter like this will go out. We have a letter from DESPP Commissioner Dora B. Schriro that says as much (also reprinted below). If/when anyone DOES actually get one of these letters, be sure to let us know.

Special Election Feb 25th, New Haven and West Haven

There is a special election tomorrow February 25, 2014 to replace the state senate seat vacated by Toni Harp after she was elected Mayor of New Haven.

Two candidates are running for the empty 10th State Senate District seat, which covers parts of New Haven and West Haven.

The first is Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, who voted to take away your rights when he voted in support of SB1160 last year. I think that’s all you need to know about Holder-Winfield.

The second candidate is West Haven Planning & Zoning Vice Chairman Steven R. Mullins. His website is here: MullinsForSenate.com
Mullins was interviewed by the New Haven Register editorial board last week, and here are a few quotes from that interview of interest to CCDL members.

State Senate candidate Steven R. Mullins said he supports having police officers assigned to each school in the state and he would not have voted for the gun law changes adopted by the legislature in a bipartisan bill last year.
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(Mullins) said if the gun law changes were put into effect the day before 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December 2012, it would have not have done anything to stop those slayings.
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“It (the new law) felt good to do it. They (legislators) felt they had accomplished something — and this is both Democrats and Republicans — but it hurt legal gun owners,” Mullins said.
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“I think the missing part was mental health. Mr. (Adam) Lanza had a serious mental health problem. As far as the ammunition and the guns were concerned, they were all legal. But he (Lanza) had a serious problem. … What is missing from the bill is serious talk about mental health,” Mullins said.
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The candidate said the new law has failed to stop subsequent killings in New Haven.

For CCDL members in the 10th District, the choice should be easy. You don’t have to wait until November to show Gary Holder-Winfield how you feel about his vote on SB1160. You can (and MUST!) do it tomorrow! If you aren’t sure where to vote, or what district you are in, you can check here: http://www.dir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx


Other Bills

Speaking of gun bills, there have been other bills introduced this session that we’re following, but for various reasons are somewhat outside our scope for now. We track them because bills often change as they move along but right now they are either not directly gun-rights related, not defined enough for us to determine if we should be for or against them, or are most likely not going to get to the point of a public hearing even without our help. Here are some examples of “other” bills we’re following this session:

Bill Number Title
HB-5072 AN ACT PROVIDING FUNDING FOR THE STATE-WIDE FIREARMS TRAFFICKING TASK FORCE.
HB-5214 AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL FIREARM PERMITTING.
HB-5217 AN ACT CONCERNING USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.
SB-71 AN ACT CONCERNING ON-LINE EDUCATION OPTIONS FOR BOATING AND HUNTING SAFETY.
SB-241 AN ACT CONCERNING YOUTH HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSES, REVISING CERTAIN HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSE FEES AND REQUIRING REGISTRATION BY HUNTING AND FISHING GUIDE SERVICES.

HB5217 – The unmanned aircraft one is kinda interesting. Basically right now it makes it a crime to commit a crime with an armed drone. Yea, it makes something already illegal more illegal.

HB5214 – We’re following this one closely. This is one that could be good or bad, depending on how it develops, but is supposedly dead on arrival. Of course we won’t believe that until after the legislative session has ended, so we’ll continue to follow it for you.

You’ll see several are hunting and sportsman related bills. While many CCDL members are also involved in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities, they are not really gun rights issues. We follow these because there is always the chance they could become firearm related down the road.

By the way, if sportsman’s issues other then gun rights also concern you, I would urge you to join the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen.
(Full disclosure, the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen is also a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit against CT’s unconstitutional gun laws, and they are helping to raise money to fund it.)
I admit their website is very out of date, but they do have an up to date email list, which you can join here.
While the email list is free, I would encourage you to become a paid member if you can. The Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen has the only full time paid lobbyist dedicated to fighting for sportsman’s rights (that often includes gun rights) in Hartford. That means they have someone (2 people) who’s paid job it is to represent your interests in Hartford every single day. Back before CCDL existed, They were often the only ones, along with a few dedicated activists, defending your right to bear arms in CT. If general sportsman’s rights concern you like firearm rights do, check them out.

First Anti-Gun Bill Of The Session

Well, despite assurances from just about everyone in the State Legislature from the Governor on down that there would be no gun-control bills this session, it looks like we have one only 2 weeks in.

H.B. No. 5295 (RAISED) VETERANS’ AFFAIRS . ‘AN ACT CONCERNING PROHIBITED ACTIVITY ON PROPERTY CONTROLLED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS’
to make it a crime to carry a firearm or other deadly weapon on the property of the Veterans’ Home or other Department of Veterans’ Affairs property.

REF. VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

Remember this is only a raised bill. It will go to a committee that will decide if it should move forward or not. If you would like to contact the members of the committee, here is their contact info. If you happen to live in a committee member’s district, make sure you tell them that when you contact them. Remember to be polite when you voice your concerns.

Veterans’ Affairs Committee


Happy Birthday!

Today CCDL turns 5 years old.

On February 16th, 2009 a group of people who only knew each other through posts on an internet forum got together for dinner at a restaurant in Newington, called “Hops”. At that dinner the Connecticut Citizens Defense League was born.

The restaurant went out of business shortly after, but CCDL continued on, and has grown to 12,000 members today. This year, when we celebrate our 5yr anniversary, instead of 2 tables in a local restaurant, we hope to fill 30 tables in a banquet hall, and everyone is invited!

CCDL President Scott Wilson and the entire Executive Board wish to thank our members for all of their support, effort and contributions over the last five years. It’s been a wild ride.
Thank you all so very much. Carry On!

5th Anniversary Dinner Reminder

Come celebrate our anniversary at the 5th Annual CCDL dinner, to be held March 1st this year at the Aquaturf Club in Plantsville. Relax, enjoy a meal, and share a well deserved night out.
Over the last five years, we have watched our membership grow to almost 12,000 members, which has been an incredible show.

Price is $57 per person when you order online, and you must show your ticket at the door to gain entry. Your ticket will be used for a special door prize, a custom knife handcrafted by the CCDL’s own Matt Gioia, with a handmade sheath. Bring some cash for both gun raffles and the bar.

Dinner will be buffet style, salad and cheese tables are on the menu as well. This event is 4-9pm, with dinner to start at 5:30. We will have some speakers, but not TOO many! This is a night to sit back and enjoy a well deserved meal.
Aquaturf is located at 556 Mulberry st, Plantsville CT, 06479. Phone number is 860-621-9335.

Tickets may be ordered online, and will be held at the door under the name used to order them.
Click the “Pay Now” button to order.

We now accept Bitcoin!

After requests from a number of our members, CCDL is now accepting Bitcoin as a donation option. Please use the link below to make your bitcoin donation:

Donate Bitcoins

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is an electronic payment system that allows you to transmit money directly to another person without going through a bank or third party. It is sometimes called the ‘currency of the Internet.’

Check out Bitcoin.org for more information.

Note: While we are accepting Bitcoin donations, there are NO plans to accept bitcoin for any other purpose.

Meeting Reminder – 2/11/2014

Join us for the first meeting of the new year!
CCDL holds its monthly general membership meeting at 7pm on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Elks Lodge in Middletown, CT. Our next meeting is Tuesday, February 11, 2014.
All CCDL members are welcome and encouraged to attend. We have a request from the property owners to please do not park on the grass when attending the meeting.

Meeting Agenda
• Gubernatorial candidate Mark LAuretti will discuss his 2nd Amendment views.

• Secretary of State Candidate Peter Lumaj will also be on hand. Peter is a long-time supporter of CCDL and gun rights, here’s Peter speaking at one of our rallies: Youtube

• Senator Joe Markley (16th District) will be joining us to share ideas on how to help support 2A legislators and candidates. Senator Markley is one of the best friends a gun owner can have in this state. He has good ideas that will provide an opportunity for many to get involved and help 2A candidates.

• Appeal Timeline: A timeline of the appeals process will be laid out for CCDL members. This is a general overview of how things will work if ideal conditions are met. Timing may be affected in the event of extensions that may be granted by either party, so this breakdown will serve as a general guideline. We are all eager to have our appeal heard!

Merchandise
We sell CCDL merchandise at the meeting, buy it there and save on shipping.

BLOWOUT SALE! The last of the special shirts made for the Poker Run Fundraiser will be on sale at the meeting only for $10 each! If you don’t have one yet, this might be your last chance to buy one. Supply is limited to whatever is on hand at the meeting. When they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

Dinner Tickets
Tickets will be on sale for our 5th Annual Dinner, held this year on March 1st at the Aquaturf in Plantsville, CT. Cash price for the tickets are $55 per person.

Food Drive
CCDL collects canned goods/non-perishables at all our meetings to be donated to local charities. The holiday season is over, but people still need help year round. Please give what you can for those that need our help.

Middletown Elks
44 Maynard St
Middletown, CT 06457
February 11, 2014 7:00pm-9:00pm
Please park in the event lot to the left of the building (looking at it from Maynard St) and enter the upstairs banquet hall at the front of the building. please do not park on the grass!!


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REPOST – Legislative Testimony “Tip Sheet”

This is another in a series of repeats of older blog posts for new members and also as a refresher course for older members. Remember, the 2014 Legislative Session starts today, February 5th. We’ll post any new bills here on the blog, as well as keep you updated about any bills we need to testify against (or for) in Hartford. Subscribe to the blog for updates by email.

Legislative Testimony “Tip Sheet” originally published on 1/25/2013

Overview:

Testifying (in person or written testimony) may seem like a daunting task at first. Use this “tip sheet” to help you as you prepare for your testimony. Regardless of how you testify (in person or written) many items are still the same. However, if you plan to submit written testimony AND testify in person, you do not need to stick to your written testimony. This is particularly helpful if you have knowledge of a particular subject that was not answered in previous testimony.

Keep all your testimony brief and “stick to the facts”. It is also helpful if you personalize your written testimony and explain how a bill will affect you. This also makes it easier for you to not repeat the same facts and testimony of previous speakers. If your written testimony is essentially the same as previous speakers, tell the committee you agree with previous speakers and you are available to answer any questions.

Regardless of how you testify, the following should always be included:

  • Your name
  • Where you’re from (city/state)
  • State whether you support or oppose the bill
  • Use the bill number and title of the bill (EX: HB 1234 An Act Concerning Firearms)
  • Summarize your recommendation first and then add any needed explanation
  • Restate your position on the bill
  • Thank the legislators for their time and consideration of your position. Provide contact information and offer to answer any questions.
  • BE RESPECTFUL—never use derogatory names or threaten/antagonize

If you are testifying in person, here are a few more tips:

  • Each committee has a different operating procedure, however most only allow 3 minutes of testimony. You will be timed, and a buzzer or bell will sound once your time is up. If you hear that sound, please wrap it up as soon as you can. CAVEAT: If at the end of the 3 minutes, a legislator asks you a question, you may continue to speak to answer that question. However, please be respectful of time and try not to be excessive.
  • If you cannot cover all the information in the required 3 minutes, add it to the written testimony you submitted and note to the legislators that there is more you provided in writing
  • Rehearse your testimony. Anticipate questions and answers to those questions
  • If you DO NOT know the answer to a question, say so! Offer to get the correct information to the legislator or their aid as soon as possible.
  • Arrive and sign up early to testify.
  • Bring enough copies of your testimony. This is often stated when a hearing will take place. Bring a few extra copies so you have a copy to go over and practice before you speak. Not all committees allow testimony to be submitted electronically.
  • Dress appropriately for testimony. Business dress or business casual is preferred. No cammo, Printed T-shirts, etc. No hats. Your testimony may be televised.
  • Make sure cell phones are “muted” or turned off
  • Adjust and speak directly into the microphone. You should be no more than six inches from the microphone.
  • Avoid technical jargon. Many legislators are not familiar with terms and acronyms.
  • Plan to spend the entire day at the legislature. You may not have to, but depending on how testimony is organized (it could be by lottery) you may be there all day. Make sure plans are made with babysitters and employers ahead of time. It’s not uncommon for hearings to go through the evening hours.
  • Bring food or snacks (there is a cafeteria and auxiliary store).
  • DO NOT threaten or antagonize or argue with the legislators
  • DO NOT bring weapons into the legislature.
  • DO NOT clap, cheer or jeer during testimony. It only slows down the process and just doesn’t make us look good. Respect is key here.

If you have the time, make a visit to the Legislative Office Building (LOB) ahead of time and sit in on a hearing. This will give you a good idea of what to expect. Many of the hearings are also online at www.ct-n.com (The CT Network)

Statistics
Avoid using outdated statistics. Also, make sure your sources are valid. I.e. if a legislator sees you reference for a statistic is a known biased “news” (Fox, MSNBC, Breitbart, etc.) outlet, it may be called into question (perceived bias). There are some GREAT resources for firearms statistics that help you avoid a perceived bias.

  • Gunfacts.info – www.gunfacts.info This site has a downloadable book (available for purchase as well). GREAT information. All statistics are referenced in footnotes of every page.
  • FBI Crime Statistics – http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats Data here is hard for “the other side” to refute as it comes straight from the FBI.
  • Gun Cite – http://www.guncite.com/ – Not always up to date, but good source of ideas.
  • CT Pistol Permit Issues – www.ctpistolpermitissues.com – More information specific to Connecticut. Defensive firearms use, Office of Legislative Research Reports, pivotal state, federal and supreme court cases and permit procedure information.

Other useful resources

  • Connecticut Citizens Defense League – www.ccdl.us – keep current on issues affecting Connecticut.
    CCDL also maintains an active presence regarding legislative efforts and informs members as soon as information is made available. CCDL is free to join and email lists are not shared with any other source.
  • NRA-ILA – National Rifle Association, Institute for Legislative Action – www.nraila.org – NRA-ILA maintains a large web site with information on legislative issues around the nation.
  • Connecticut General Assembly – www.cga.ct.gov – Lookup feature to find who your legislators are and how to contact them. Bill tracking – this allows you to read the language and any updates that may have been made. Hearing dates and times and any specific information for that hearing day (How many copies of testimony, etc.).

Books:

  • More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition, John R. Lott Jr. (Author) [Paperback] [Kindle] John R. Lott Jr. (Author)

Document created by E. Jonathan Hardy, Legislative Affairs Coordinator, CCDL permitissues@ccdl.us Rev Date: 1-24-13

You may also download and print out a copy of this tip sheet.
legislative testimony handout (pdf format)

Repost- Hint For Tracking Bills

This is another in a series of repeats of older blog posts for new members and also as a refresher course for older members. Remember, the 2014 Legislative Session starts on February 5th. We’ll post any new bills here on the blog, as well as keep you updated about any bills we need to testify against (or for) in Hartford. Subscribe to the blog for updates by email.

Hint For Tracking CT Bills originally posted 1/9/2013

For those who have missed CCDL’s prior Legislative Training Classes, here’s a quick tip for keeping track of all the various House and Senate bills as they come out. The CT General Assembly website has a Bill Tracking feature located in the upper right hand corner of the page.

Click that and follow the directions to create an account there. Keep in mind the email address you give will be used to send you any updates to the bills you track.

After that you will see a fairly self-explanatory page where you can enter a bill in the “Add Bill Number” box (for example SB42) then click the “track” button. Add all the bills as we post them, and when they get updated you should get an email. Sometimes the email doesn’t work, so I like to go back and check for myself every few days. Just go back to the CGA website and click the “Bill Tracking” button and log in. Then use the “Bill Listing Report” button at the bottom of the page and it will give you links to all the bills you are tracking.