Two Years

Two years ago today we filed a lawsuit, Shew v. Malloy, against Connecticut’s new (at the time) unconstitutional gun control law, Public Act 13-3. You can read the press release from that day here. We’re still waiting for the latest ruling in that case, which hopefully will be issued any day now. We just want to thank everyone who’s helped get us this far. You’ve helped us retain some of the best Second Amendment lawyers in the country to help fight this thing. And fight we will. All the way to the Supreme Court if necessary, to restore your rights and bring Connecticut back in line with its constitution and the majority of the country.
Thanks for your donations, and thanks for standing with us.
Carry on!

SB650 – Looney/Coleman Amendment

Yesterday state senators Martin Looney(D) and Eric Coleman(D) introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 650, which we’ve talked a lot about. The 24 page amendment basically replaces the original SB650 in it’s entirety. It’s going to take some time to analyze everything, but one change jumps out right now. “The department’s determination not to reinstate any such permit that has been revoked may not be based solely upon the issuance of such expired ex parte order.”
That can be read a few ways, but my gut feeling is since it’s coming from staunch antigunners Looney and Coleman, it’s not good. I’ll include the changes in context for comparison:

Original version
(d) If a state permit or temporary state permit for the carrying of any pistol or revolver is revoked because the person holding such permit is subject to an ex parte order issued pursuant to section 46b-15, as amended by this act, or 46b-16a, upon expiration of such order, such person may notify the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection that such order has expired. Upon verification of such expiration and provided such person is not otherwise disqualified from holding such permit pursuant to subsection (b) of section 29-28, the department shall reinstate such permit.

New version
If a state permit or temporary state permit for the carrying of any pistol or revolver is revoked because the person holding such permit is subject to an ex parte order issued pursuant to section 46b-15, as amended by this act, or 46b-16a, upon expiration of such order, such person may notify the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection that such order has expired. Upon verification of such expiration and provided such person is not otherwise disqualified from holding such permit pursuant to subsection (b) of section 29-28, the department shall reinstate such permit. The department’s determination not to reinstate any such permit that has been revoked may not be based solely upon the issuance of such expired ex parte order.

We have video of Senator Coleman describing the amendment.

We also have the full 24 page amendment. SB650 Amendment (pdf)

And, if you’re really interested, you can watch the entire 7.5 hour long senate session here.

Reminder – May 12th Monthly Meeting

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, May 12, 2015.
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

  • We are in the last full month of the legislative session for 2015. This is our last chance to communicate with legislators about the two remaining gun related bills: Senate Bill 650 and Governor’s Bill 6848. These bills will eliminate the right to “due process” for gun owners in certain instances.
  • CCDL’s Legislative Coordinator Ray Bevis will give a breakdown on leftover gun related bills and our strategy.
  • Pre-planning for a number of events will take place. This will include discussions about our annual family picnic, the poker run, and possibly a legislative trap shoot event.
  • Any updates on Shew v. Malloy that are available will be given. We are now 5 months past the date of oral arguments at the 2nd Circuit Appellate level, and we’re hoping to hear something very soon.

Merchandise
We sell CCDL merchandise at the meeting, buy it there and save on shipping.
We also sell limited edition items that are not available in our online store. Right now we have patches, pins, and magnets (perfect to put on your car, gun safe, or refrigerator). We also sell the car decals in assorted colors besides white.


Food Drive
CCDL collects canned goods/non-perishables at all our meetings to be donated to local charities. The holiday season may be over, but people still need to eat. Please bring non perishables to the meeting. If everyone that attends brought at least one canned good we would be helping to feed MANY!

Middletown Elks
44 Maynard St
Middletown, CT 06457
May 12, 2015 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!!


View Larger Map

Partial Victory – Still Work To Do

The wording just got finalized and posted for SB650 and HB6848. Because of your testimony, emails, phone calls and visits, both bills have been amended.

S.B. 650
Amendment A:
if the court issues an ex parte order against a respondent who is a peace officer as defined in section 53a-3, such hearing shall be held not later than five days from the date of the order.

Amendment B:
(d) If a state permit or temporary state permit for the carrying of any pistol or revolver is revoked because the person holding such permit is subject to an ex parte order issued pursuant to section 46b-15, as amended by this act, or 46b-16a, upon expiration of such order, such person may notify the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection that such order has expired. Upon verification of such expiration and provided such person is not otherwise disqualified from holding such permit pursuant to subsection (b) of section 29-28, the department shall reinstate such permit.
http://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/TOB/s/pdf/2015SB-00650-R02-SB.pdf

The Gov. Bill 6848 has the same wording of amendment B added.
http://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/TOB/h/pdf/2015HB-06848-R01-HB.pdf

At least on paper, this appears to be at least a partial victory, but we must not get complacent.

  • These bills STILL violate “due process“.
  • There is also still no provision for the return of lawfully owned firearms, magazines and ammunition, especially those that are now banned under Governor Malloy’s unconstitutional Public Act 13-3.
  • The bill and the amendment still “revoke” your permit. This may seem like splitting hairs, until you go to renew your CT permit, move to another state, or apply for a non-resident permit in another state. On the CT permit renewal form it asks “Have you had a firearms permit, permit application or eligibility certificate of any kind from ANY jurisdiction in the United States denied, suspended or revoked?”
    Most other states include similar language. This means, despite a court finding a lawful gun owner innocent of the accusations in an ex parte restraining order, he/she’s record will be forever marred by the event; in essence forced to defend themselves anew every few years come renewal time.

We must continue to contact our legislators (see this post for more info). Thank them for the language in Amendment B, but continue to voice your concern for the issues that have not been addressed yet.


Shameless plug: CCDL is leading a federal lawsuit to overturn 13-3. We have assembled a legal team comprised of some of the very best 2nd Amendment lawyers in the country. Such a lawsuit is extremely expensive, and to date we’ve spent in the area of $600,000, and it’s projected to cost us at least another $1 million. CCDL is an all volunteer, not for profit organization. We don’t even charge a membership fee! (If you are not already a member, join here.)
We also don’t have some foundation or billionaire ex-mayor giving us cash. This lawsuit is funded solely by people like you and I who support the right to keep and bear arms. If you would like to donate directly to the litigation fund, you may do so here. http://ccdl.us/blog/donate/

Defeat SB650 and HB6848

The following is another guest post by John Sturmer. John is the principal owner of JJ Firearms Training, LLC. He is also a Certified Firearms Instructor, Range Safety Officer, Glock Armorer, and a CCDL Member.
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At our last CCDL Meeting on April 14, Ray Beavis and I spoke about what it would take politically to defeat SB650 and HB6848. We have been lucky so far in that all Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted against it, but sadly it was given a “Joint Favorable” recommendation, and will now advance. As you know, many Republicans voted FOR Senate Bill 1160 in 2013, and although we have seen all Republicans on the Judiciary committee vote against this bill, I have little faith that ALL Republicans will follow suit.

Remember… We need legislators from BOTH parties to vote against SB650 and its House counterpart in order to defeat it. There are 64 Republicans. 76 votes are needed to kill it in the House. The good news is that 10 Democrats voted against SB1160… 8 of them are still there, one lost his seat to a pro 2A Republican, and one is Steve Mikutel’s former district. Representative Mikutel if you don’t know was a better friend to CCDL than many Republicans are. I have included a list, if you live in any of these districts it is absolutely critical that you reach out and we keep these votes on the right side. There were also 20 Republican house members who voted FOR SB1160. 6 of them are on the Judiciary Committee, and all voted against this bill.

Take the following actions

  • Find your legislator and their contact info at: www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp
  • Reach out to the chairman of your town committee, of your party. Attend a meeting if possible.
  • Find the website for your party’s state central committee. Every town has a representative. Reach out to them and let them know how you feel about these bills.
  • When you e-mail your legislator make sure to include the bill number and the fact that you oppose it clearly in the subject. They may not read your individual e-mail, but the primary driver of their vote is the consensus of their constituents. The overwhelming majority of these legislators are everyday people that just want to “do the right thing”. Sometimes they need a little help knowing what the right thing is.

The following Democratic Representatives voted “NO” on SB1160, and are still sitting members… it is critical that you reach out to them if you live in their district:
Buddy Altobello – 82nd altobello@cga.ct.gov
Theresa Conroy – 105th Theresa.conroy@cga.ct.gov
Louis Esposito – 116th Lou.Esposito@cga.ct.gov
Ed Jutilla – 37th Ed.Jutila@cga.ct.gov
Douglas McCrory – 7th Douglas.mccrory@cga.ct.gov
Frank Nicastro – 79th Frank.Nicastro@cga.ct.gov
Danny Rovero – 51st Danny.Rovero@cga.ct.gov
David Zoni – 81st David.Zoni@cga.ct.gov

Additionally – the following Republican representatives, while the voted “Yes” on 1160, voted “No” in the Judiciary Committee. We need to keep every Republican Vote, so if you live in one of these districts, PLEASE e-mail and call:
Bill Aman – 14th – bill.aman@housegop.ct.gov
Christie Carpino – 32nd – Christie.carpino@housegop.ct.gov
Tom O’Dea – 125th – tom.odea@housegop.ct.gov
Arthur O’Neill – 69th – Arthur.oneill@housegop.ct.gov
John Shaban – 135th – john.shaban@housegop.ct.gov
Richard Smith – 108th Richard.smith@housegop.ct.gov

CCDL Response to Norwich Bulletin

The following has been submitted by CCDL President Scott Wilson to the Norwich Bulletin in response to an editorial published a few days ago.

________________________________________________________________

In response to the April 25th editorial: “Responsible gun owners want to make a difference to do what’s right” I submit the following to address some of the points made by the writer of that op-ed.

First off, Tim McGraw is free to perform anywhere and anytime that he so chooses, and for whatever cause he desires. Tim is accountable to his fan base, not us. Repeat: No matter how misdirected his intentions may be, he is free to perform at the Sandy Hook Promise event in July.

The point that the Connecticut Citizens Defense League is making is this:
We believe that it is not at all clear who this event will actually benefit. To say the event is “for the children” or “for the community” is very vague. Is the event being held for mental health support? Is it being held to benefit the families of victims directly? Is the event being held to support all people who reside in Sandy Hook, Connecticut? We know that the benefit is not for the families directly; or at least not all of them. We also know that this concert will not benefit most of the people from Sandy Hook at all. So is it going to the cause of implementing gun control at the state or federal level? We suspect the real answer to whom the concert benefits lies in this last question more so than the others.

By the way, we use the term “gun control” to reflect an honest element to what is really going on. Sandy Hook Promise and similar ilk learned some time ago that the phrase “gun control” has made decent folks run away from these people; and rightfully so. Gun control proponents have adapted their language to hide their agenda, so they now use phrases such as “gun safety” instead. I know most reading this will be shocked to hear that such well-intentioned people could employ such deceitful tactics; but they do.

One of the other false claims in the editorial I am responding to is that we somehow want guns in dangerous hands. The bills in question (Senate Bill 650 and Governor’s Bill 6848) would remove firearms from individuals without being able to respond to any claims made by an applicant for a Temporary Restraining Order. In some instances, the subject of to one of these orders may never see their firearms again because of loopholes in state law. Even many advocates for these bills support the return of firearms and the reinstatement of pistol permits to respondents upon the vacating of a “TRO” that has been issued without merit. Yet the Judiciary Committee in Hartford has been unrelenting in its course so far. And we are supposed to go along and not speak in opposition to violations of due process and the seizure of private property without any basis or proof of wrong doing? What a very Marxist notion indeed.

As far as blocking or ending “gun violence” or any violence for that matter; that is impossible. But, for the sake of argument, most of our members (me included) have publicly argued for violent criminals to be punished by lengthier sentences and ending early release programs for this segment of society. We have also called for increased penalties for criminals who ‘straw purchase’ or steal firearms and then sell them to other criminals. These ideas are real solutions to at least minimize violence to a significant degree.

The author of this editorial also overlooks the effectiveness of CCDL. Prior to the rising tide of the post Sandy Hook era, CCDL has had a track record legislatively since the organization’s founding in 2009. We were instrumental in defeating an earlier magazine ban. Prior to that we actually had anti-gun language stripped out of a DPS bill right smack in the middle of a public hearing. We also fixed ordinances in towns that affected lawful carry of firearms and initiated a favorable declaratory ruling that has helped pistol permit applicants across the state immensely.

Also we were able to help end the runs for governor by Mayor of Danbury Mark Boughton and Senate Minority leader John McKinney; both who had publicly opposed gun rights. Admittedly, Tom Foley was not savvy enough to defeat the anti-gun incumbent.

While we cannot take all of the credit, we certainly helped with flipping 10 seats to pro 2A House members. Not bad for our first legislative cycle in which we were seriously engaged, with hundreds of active volunteers embedded in campaigns. Readers of the Bulletin should also know that CCDL currently leads a legal challenge against the State of Connecticut. We are calling into question to the constitutionality of Public Act 13-3 which was rammed through by politicians in the dark of night while using questionable ‘Emergency Certification’ maneuvers. We have the finest of law firms and legal minds working for us to overturn this injustice (Shew v. Malloy). We believe that ultimately we will win because we are the ones who stand by the principles that this state and this country was founded on. We take our rights seriously, and will not lay down for anybody.

At the end of the day this whole issue is about much more than Tim McGraw, isn’t it? It is really about the time honored and ongoing struggle between people who support ALL constitutional rights (not just some of them), and people that seek to impose their will on others; and where whatever ends they use, somehow justify their means.

So who are the real extremists in this story? Is it Tim McGraw, Sandy Hook Promise, the writer of the editorial in question, or all of them? At the very least, it’s two of these three in my opinion.

Scott Wilson
President
Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc.

Press Release: Tim McGraw and Sandy Hook Promise

04/17/2015
For Immediate Release:

 

CCDL Reaction to Tim McGraw’s Anti-Gun Concert  

 The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (The state’s largest grass-roots gun rights group) has issued the following statement on a benefit fundraiser to be headlined by popular country music star Tim McGraw:

Statement from CCDL President Scott Wilson:

“We have watched and followed this story closely over the last several days to gauge the reaction of Tim McGraw’s fan base, and the fans of country music in general. I sincerely believe that Tim was not aware that the organization known as ‘Sandy Hook Promise’ actually operates with a completely anti-2nd amendment agenda. SHP (as they are known) has cheered on every piece of legislation in this state (and at the federal level) intended to curtail or eradicate our rights as law abiding Americans.”

“Mr. McGraw has now been brought up to speed on what this anti-gun organization which masquerades as something else is all about, but  apparently he is doubling down by going forward with this event. In spite of Tim’s claims that he is about protecting children and family, the organization he is supporting would leave families defenseless with their zeal. It’s hard to believe it, but apparently Tim McGraw has gone Hollywood Country.”
Wilson thanks the nation for their support:

“Connecticut has had a very tough couple of years with the aftermath of Sandy Hook. Innocent children were murdered here, and we all felt it.  The blame however was placed squarely on the shoulders of gun owners. Laws were passed that crippled our rights, and new laws are waiting to be passed that will hurt us even more.”

“I am very humbled by the outcry I have seen from country music fans from all over that are outraged a superstar like Tim McGraw would align himself with an organization like SHP. Country music is one of the last bastions of entertainment where people express patriotism and aren’t afraid to admit that they are proud gun owning Americans.  Connecticut gun owners, and our organization ‘Connecticut Citizens Defense League’ thanks everyone from all over this great country for supporting the 2nd Amendment.”

 

Special Thank You:

“We also wish to send a special thank you to country artist Billy Currington for stepping aside from this event, and for recognizing those behind it for exactly what they are.”

__________________________________________

About the CCDL:

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League was formed in 2009 by a small group of concerned citizens as a non-partisan organization to advocate second amendment rights in the state of Connecticut. Since their founding, the group has grown to nearly 18,000 members across the state.

Thanks to this large supportive base across the state the CCDL has become a fixture of the capitol, and well-recognized by committees that see firearms related bills.

As the go-to organization in the state they are consulted regularly by lawmakers who have questions and concerns about pending legislation or existing laws. For more information on the CCDL please visit http://www.ccdl.us

 

April 14 Member Meeting

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, April 14, 2015.
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

  • We are in a critical part of the legislative session as committee deadlines for bills are passing. We will be discussing what course of action to take with any bills that make it out of the Judiciary Committee.
  • CCDL Executive Member Ray Bevis will give a breakdown on leftover gun related bills and our strategy.
  • Christian Ragosta, Grassroots Field Coordinator for the NRA-ILA will make a brief presentation on how to help increase pro 2A voter turnout and related matters in advance of elections for next year.
  • Any Updates on Shew v. Malloy that are available will be given. We are now 4 months past the date of oral arguments at the 2nd Circuit Appellate level.
  • Special guest Chris Fields, owner of King 33 Training will be on hand to make a personal presentation to our members about his 360 degree live fire facility located in Southington.

Merchandise
We sell CCDL merchandise at the meeting, buy it there and save on shipping.
We also sell limited edition items that are not available in our online store. Right now we have patches, pins, and magnets (perfect to put on your car, gun safe, or refrigerator). We also sell the car decals in assorted colors besides white.


Food Drive
CCDL collects canned goods/non-perishables at all our meetings to be donated to local charities. The holiday season may be over, but people still need to eat. Please bring non perishables to the meeting. If everyone that attends brought at least one canned good we would be helping to feed MANY!

Middletown Elks
44 Maynard St
Middletown, CT 06457
April 14, 2015 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!!


View Larger Map

Action Alert: Please Contact Your Legislators – Your Input Is Critical

Immediate Action is Needed on the Following Bills:
Governor’s Bill 6848
Senate Bill 650
Emails, phone calls and/or personal visits can go along way to defeating these pieces of proposed legislation. We need you to tell your elected officials to oppose both of these bills. Both bills have passed out of the Judiciary Committee as Joint Favorable and could be voted on very soon!

These bills violate due process of law, a right which is protected under the 14th amendment of the US Constitution and also Article 1 Sec 7 of the Connecticut State Constitution. If either of these laws are passed, Connecticut citizens who have even a Temporary Restraining Order (ex parte) filed against them will not have an opportunity to be heard by a judge before firearms, ammunition, and their permits are seized.

For more information on these bills and calls for action by CCDL pertaining to these bills, please look here: CCDL Blog – 2015 legislative session

You may find and contact your legislators here: Find Your Legislators

Immediate Action Needed!

I wanted to write something about this myself, but my real job (the one that actually pays me) comes first, so I’m just going to share this alert from the NRA-ILA. I’ll insert a comment or two of my own in [dark blue text].
____________________________________________________________________

Unconstitutional Bill That Denies Due Process Before Committee as Early as Today

Today, the Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on an unconstitutional bill that denies due process to gun owners, sponsored by “F-rated” Senator Martin Looney (D-11).  Since previously reported, Senate Bill 650’s language has become available, and it is even worse than expected. [See our previous posts on this bill here: link ]

SB 650 would allow your gun rights to be stripped without due process of law.  This legislation would require a sworn police officer to serve all ex parte temporary restraining orders when the applicant indicates on the application that the respondent has access to a firearm or ammunition, or holds a valid state-issued firearm or ammunition permit or eligibility certificate.  An ex parte temporary restraining order is one where only one side, the applicant, makes a claim and doesn’t have to appear in front of a judge before the order is issued.  Upon the delivery of the order, the police officer would then immediately confiscate all legally owned firearms, ammunition, carry permits and eligibility certificates BEFORE a person has had a hearing before a court to determine the merits of the complaint made against them.

If firearms are confiscated erroneously or a court ultimately dismisses an order, and since a person does not have an immediate ability to have a hearing or right to be heard before a court before their firearms, ammunition, permits, certificates are taken, the wait is often as long as two years or longer to get your firearms, ammunition certificates and permits returned to you.  There is also, unfortunately, no reprisal for filing a false claim.  This bill takes unnecessary steps to blatantly circumvent your rights. [There is also no provision to return any so-called "assault weapons" or "large capacity magazines". Once these are removed, even erroneously, they can not be returned to you. Even members of the antigun groups CAGV and CADV have testified in favor of return of firearms, and immediate reinstatement of pistol permits if ex parte orders were found invalid and vacated at an ensuing hearing.]

It is clear that the Governor and some misguided legislators have only one interest –gun confiscation and limiting the rights of the law-abiding in Connecticut, as they have shown no interest in providing respondents with an opportunity to be heard before a judge ahead of losing their Second Amendment rights.  In fact, this legislation even removes verbatim “an opportunity to be heard” from the current state statute that protects individuals in these circumstances today.

It’s important for gun owners to have the opportunity to put up their own defense before losing their Second Amendment rights.  This bill’s low evidentiary standards and lack of a mechanism for individuals to present their own defense before being deprived of their constitutional rights is unacceptable.

There is a small group of legislators that recently held a press conference to expose the severe problems in this bill.  They need your help convincing the remaining committee members that this bill is unconstitutional.  It is CRITICAL that you IMMEDIATELY use the links provided below to contact members of the Judiciary Committee and urge them to oppose Senate Bill 650. Please also consider submitting testimony by clicking here.

 

Judiciary Committee:

Senator Eric Coleman (D-2), Co-Chair

Representative William Tong (D-147), Co-Chair

Senator Paul Doyle (D-9), Vice Chair

Representative Daniel Fox (D-148), Vice Chair

Senator John Kissel (R-7), Ranking Member

Representative Rosa Rebimbas (R-70), Ranking Member

Representative Al Adinolfi (R-103)

Representative William Aman (R-14)

Representative Angel Arce (D-4)

Representative David Baram (D-15)

Representative Jeffrey Berger (D-73)

Senator Toni Boucher (R-26)

Representative Cecilia Buck-Taylor (R-67)

Senator Beth Bye (D-5)

Representative Vincent Candelora (R-86)

Representative Christie Carpino (R-32)

Representative Jeff Currey (D-11)

Representative Patricia Dillon (D-92)

Representative Doug Dubitsky (R-47)

Senator Mae Flexer (D-29)

Representative Mary Fritz (D-90)

Senator Terry Gerratana (D-6)

Representative Bob Godfrey (D-110)

Representative Minnie Gonzalez (D-3)

Representative Stephen Harding (R-107)

Representative Ernest Hewett (D-39)

Representative David Labriola (R-131)

Representative Roland Lemar (D-96)

Senator Art Linares (R-33)

Representative Ben McGorty (R-122)

Senator Michael McLachlan (R-24)

Representative Bruce Morris (D-140)

Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125)

Representative Arthur O’Neill (R-69)

Representative Robyn Porter (D-94)

Representative Emmett Riley (D-46)

Representative Robert Sampson (R-80)

Representative Joseph Serra (D-33)

Representative John Shaban (R-135)

Representative Caroline Simmons (D-144)

Representative Richard Smith (R-108)

Representative Steven Stafstrom (D-129)

Representative Joe Verrengia (D-20)

Representative Toni Walker (D-93)

Senator Gary Winfield (D-10)