Soto v. Bushmaster

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Connecticut Citizens Defense League Files Brief Opposing Lawsuit that Seeks to Make Gun Manufacturers Liable for Gun Crimes Because Firearms are “too Dangerous” for Law-abiding Citizens

June 20, 2017  (Groton, CT)
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Connecticut Supreme Court opposing an attempt to impose legal liability on the manufacturers and sellers of the firearm used in the Sandy Hook tragedy. The Supreme Court case (Soto v Bushmaster), brought by lawyers representing the estates of several victims of the shooting, is based on the novel theory that the firearm used in the shooting is “too dangerous” to sell to ordinary, law-abiding citizens, and that the makers of the gun should thus be on the hook whenever it is misused to cause injury. But as CCDL’s brief points out, the particular type of firearm used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook in fact has about one-fourth as much firepower as many ordinary hunting rifles, because it uses lightweight ammunition. And crime statistics show that ordinary handguns are over fifteen times more likely to me used by “mass shooters” than the model of firearm chosen by Lanza. If the defendants are held liable in this case, then, it will set a precedent that would expose businesses to legal liability each time they sell virtually any type of firearm in Connecticut.

The State Superior Court rejected the Plaintiffs’ theory, noting that it “would be a dramatic change in tort doctrine.” But the Plaintiffs have now appealed to the Supreme Court.

“The implications of the radical theory of tort law advanced by Plaintiffs’ lawyers in this case are dangerous and breathtaking,” said Scott Wilson, President of CCDL. “When you realize that by every empirical measure, the type of firearm at issue in this case is less dangerous and less likely to be used in any kind of violent crime, including mass shootings, than an ordinary hunting rifle or handgun, it becomes clear that this is just the latest effort in the long-running campaign by anti-gun activists to make the manufacturers of any firearm liable simply because criminals or the mentally unstable misuse their product.” But the Second Amendment protects the right to sell firearms to lawful citizens, according to multiple federal court decisions; and a federal statute also generally forecloses attempts to make firearm manufactures and retailers liable for the misuse of the firearms they sell, so long as the sale itself was lawful. “Plaintiffs’ effort to choke off the sale of virtually all ordinary firearms is contrary to both the Constitution and federal law,” Mr. Wilson said. “CCDL hopes that our brief will help the Supreme Court to recognize the truly radical—and unconstitutional—implications of this lawsuit.”

The full brief can be downloaded here: CCDL-Amicus-AS-FILED (pdf)

Amicus Application Accepted

The Connecticut Supreme Court has accepted CCDL’s application to appear as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) in the case of Soto v. Bushmaster, as well as approving our full legal team.

This means the court agrees that CCDL and it’s members have a legitimate interest in this case and it’s outcome, and they will allow CCDL to explain why we believe that a ruling for the plaintiffs in this case could seriously jeopardize the ability of law-abiding citizens to obtain lawful arms in Connecticut.

Our legal team is putting the final touches on the actual brief, which we hope to be able to share with our members as soon as possible.

Soto-v-bushmaster amicus application granted (pdf)

June Member Update

CCDL Monthly Meeting – June 13th
All members are welcome and encouraged to attend

CCDL holds its monthly general membership meeting at 7:00pm on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Elks Lodge in Middletown, CT.
All CCDL members are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Meeting Agenda:

  • Wrap up for 2017 legislative session
  • Gubernatorial and statewide constitutional offices discussion
  • Candidate for state-wide office- Peter Lumaj
  • Updates on actions with the Waterbury pistol permit process
  • Updates on actions with the Middletown pistol permit process
  • Information on the CCDL Family Picnic
  • Poker Run update
  • CCDL amicus brief filing (Soto v Bushmaster)
  • CCDL educational legislative shoot

Avoid the wait and shipping fees! The full selection of CCDL merchandise is always for sale at our meetings, including many items not sold on our website.


Legislative Session

Legislative Coordinator Ray Bevis will report on “how we did” at the upcoming meeting. This is a tremendous opportunity for our members to hear about how we did this year in Hartford. Ray will include some of the key highlights of the session, and compare our efforts from a few years ago to this year. Every year that CCDL is around, we grow, we learn and we mature as an organization to better serve our faithful members.


Meet Candidate for State-Wide Office Peter Lumaj

2018 candidates for state-wide office are emerging. One such candidate is Peter Lumaj. While CCDL has not endorsed any candidates for any race in 2018, we will point out that Peter has been endorsed by CCDL in the past. Peter is a staunch supporter of our 2nd Amendment rights, and if you come and listen you will see exactly why.


CCDL Files FOIA Requests With Two Cities

In an effort to address the many concerns of pistol permit applicants in several municipalities in Connecticut, CCDL has requested data from two cities: Waterbury and Middletown. Numerous applicants have reportedly been delayed far beyond the statutorily required 8-week period to issue or deny pistol permits. Once the data is reviewed, and if systemic problems are indicated with one or both cities, we will more than likely consider several courses of action to correct these issues.


CCDL Readies Amicus Filing (Soto v Bushmaster)

CCDL has applied to the CT State Supreme court to submit an Amicus Curiae Brief (Friend of the Court Brief) in support of Bushmaster Firearms International LLC. The case known as ‘Soto v Bushmaster’ has been ongoing for some time, and CCDL will withhold any further statements on the case until the court accepts our petition for the brief to be filed. The application is a matter of public record on file with the State Supreme Court as of May 30, 2017. You may view a copy of the application here: Application-of-CCDL-for-permission-to-appear-as-amicus-curiae.pdf


CCDL Summer Events

The 9th Annual CCDL Family Picnic is set for August 26th is Stratford Connecticut At Boothe Memorial Park. This picnic is free to our members, and more details and a flyer will be published soon.

CCDL Poker Run is a go for Saturday, September 9th. Additional setails to follow soon!

CCDL files Application to CT Supreme Court

CCDL has applied to the CT State Supreme court to submit an Amicus Curiae Brief (Friend of the Court Brief) in support of Bushmaster Firearms International LLC.

The case known as ‘Soto v Bushmaster’ has been ongoing for some time, and CCDL will withhold any further statements on the case until the court accepts our petition for the brief to be filed.

The application is a matter of public record on file with the State Supreme Court as of May 30, 2017. You may view a copy of the application here: Application-of-CCDL-for-permission-to-appear-as-amicus-curiae.pdf

Permit Issue Resolved in the City of Hartford

On May 1st, CCDL President Scott Wilson communicated with Hartford Police Chief James Rovella regarding his department’s refusal to accept numerous pistol permit applications.

These particular applications were refused by the police department because they did not include an additional signed waiver that would have allowed for intrusive privacy violations. The Connecticut State Statues (29-28a) do not allow the Hartford PD to require such additional waivers in addition to the state approved application.

The CCDL President offered to schedule a meeting between CCDL and Hartford city officials to discuss this matter.

On May 5th a reply came back to CCDL from Hartford Deputy Police Chief Dustin Rendock indicating that they had conducted a review of their pistol permit procedures, and that they were eliminating the waiver altogether. The Deputy Chief also asked CCDL to contact the rejected pistol permit applicants in Hartford to see if we can get them to resubmit their applications.

The next step that CCDL will take is to contact the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners to communicate the resolution to any applicants in Hartford they know of who might have been affected by the waiver requirement.

CCDL wishes to thank the Hartford Police Department for taking positive and expedient action to rectify this matter. We are thankful that by bringing this issue to their attention it has been resolved.

CCDL also wishes to thank our members for standing behind us, and also for their patience while we work to resolve other issues in several other municipalities across the state.

Carry On!

Press Release – “Show Your Papers” Bill Defeated

04/06/2017

For Immediate Release:

(Groton, CT) – The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (The state’s largest gun rights organization) issues the following statement on HB6200 –  “AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRESENTATION OF A PERMIT TO CARRY A PISTOL OR REVOLVER”

Statement from CCDL President Scott Wilson:

“CCDL is pleased that HB6200 appears to be dead at this stage of the game. This bill was not only an unnecessary intrusion, it was advertised as something that is it was not.”

“The usual gun control proponents have for 2 years now failed to convince two different committees that there really is a need for what they’ve sought. We really appreciate the hard work of our members to help stop this bill. We could not have done this without the time and effort that they have dedicated.”

“Hopefully as time passes, our legislators will understand more about the issues that plague society, and start addressing the root causes of violence with real solutions.”

-End

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 over 27,000 members from across the state.

Thanks to this large supportive base, the CCDL has become a fixture at the state 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

 Press Contact:
Scott Wilson
president@ccdl.us
860-235-7490

CCDL March Meeting Canceled – Hearing Update

Inclement Weather Alert!
Tuesday, March 14th CCDL Meeting CANCELED
The National Weather Service is currently predicting a major snowstorm to impact our area this Tuesday, which is the same day as our monthly meeting in Middletown.
For the safety of our members, we are cancelling the meeting.
Our next member meeting will be Tuesday, April 11th.

March 15th Legislative Breakfast & Public Hearing On Gun Bills
Depending on the timing and severity of this storm, our legislative breakfast and the public hearing on two gun bills planned for Wednesday, march 15 may or may not be rescheduled. As soon as we hear one way or another, we’ll send out another email. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates as we get them.
Meanwhile, you can still send in your testimony via email.
See here for more info: http://ccdl.us/blog/march15-public-hearing/

Another Public Hearing – March 15

Upcoming Public Hearing on Gun Bills
Wednesday March 15th

The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10:00 A.M in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), 300 Capitol Ave, Hartford. There will be two gun related bills, a reciprocity bill, and a show your papers bill. This is the same day as CCDL’s Legislative Breakfast.

We need members to show up in force to show our support. The people opposed to your rights plan to be there in large numbers.

Members are encouraged to give oral testimony on both these bills. Speaking order will be determined by a lottery system. Lottery numbers will be drawn from 7:30 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. in Room 2500 of the LOB. Speakers arriving after the completion of the lottery will have their names placed at the end of the speaker list.  

Please submit 50 copies of written testimony to the Committee staff no later than 9:30 A.M. in Room 2500 of the LOB. Testimony received after the designated time may not be distributed until after the hearing.

It is also very helpful to email your written testimony in Word or PDF format to JUDtestimony@cga.ct.gov a day or two before the hearing. Many legislators prefer to read your testimony online.

Testimony should clearly state your name and bills you are testifying on. The Committee requests that testimony be limited to matters related to the items on the agenda. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony.

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to have your voice heard on these issues, please email your written testimony in Word or PDF format to: JUDtestimony@cga.ct.gov
Be sure to send a copy of your written testimony to your State Senator and State Representative.

Reciprocity:
Support: H.B.7259
AN ACT CONCERNING PERMIT AND CERTIFICATE TO CARRY A PISTOL OR REVOLVER RECIPROCITY

To secure permit, certificate or license reciprocity between Connecticut and other states that have substantially similar standards for carrying a pistol or revolver.

Anti-Gun groups will be there opposing your rights. Here are some claims they will make that pertain to this bill:
1: We cannot risk allowing gun owners to come in from states where we have no oversight of gun permitting and 24/7 access to out-of-state permit information.
2: Law enforcement would have no way to verify whether the permit was valid and whether the gun owner is carrying legally.

The fact is, this bill would simply allow Connecticut to enter into agreements with other states to allow law-abiding CT permit holders to legally visit other states while carrying a firearm for personal protection. Permit holders from other states who have undergone scrutiny and background checks similar to Connecticut's would be able to visit our state for business or tourism without having to give up their right to self-defense. This is similar to how the your drivers license in valid in other states.
Right now, Forty-two other states (84% of our country) already have some form of reciprocity.

Show Your Permit:
Oppose: H.B. No. 6200
AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRESENTATION OF A PERMIT TO CARRY A PISTOL OR REVOLVER.

To require individuals who carrying a pistol or revolver to produce their permit upon request of a law enforcement officer if the firearm is visible to such officer

This bill removes the “reasonable suspicion of a crime” from the current statues that just passed in 2015, and allows police to stop and detain a law-abiding citizen if they are observed carrying a holstered sidearm. This bill will force the over 250,000 carry permit holders to produce their permits on demand if a police officer simply sees them just carrying a holstered sidearm. This is not only violating the 2nd Amendment, the 4th Amendment but also SEC. 7. of the Connecticut State Constitution, which says: “people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches or seizures;”

Some of the claims anti-gun groups will make:
1: Police must consider anyone who is carrying a holstered sidearm as potential threat until they can assess whether the individual is legally allowed to carry a firearm in public.
2: Law enforcement needs this authority to assure public safety and diffuse situations that the public find threatening.

Key facts to help your testimony:

  • This is a bill that simply profiles gun owners. This bill allows police to stop, seize, and question people for no other reason than doing something that is lawful.
  • Open carry is permitted in over 40 states, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and all other New England states.
  • Up until 2011, there were certain cities in CT where you could only open carry.
  • A person carrying a holstered handgun that may be seen, in and of itself should not be interpreted as a person that is dangerous.
  • Carrying a firearm that may be visible is legal. Just like driving a motor vehicle is. Both activities have the potential to be dangerous, both are heavily regulated, and require a permit/license to engage in.
  • A police officer cannot lawfully stop a motor vehicle just to determine whether that person is licensed. Therefore, a police officer should not be allowed to lawfully seize someone for merely observing them carrying a gun to determine whether that person has a pistol permit.
  • Handguns in CT cannot be sold or transferred to anyone without a permit. Therefore, police should not stop, seize, detain, question and vet the person because that has already been done at the point of sale.
  • If there is no reasonable suspicion of a crime, people should not be stopped.

<————————————————>


Here are some tips for providing testimony:
 Introduce yourself (state your name and related bills) and indicate whether you support or oppose the bill. Clearly explain your reasoning. It may be helpful to write your viewpoint out completely. Keep your remarks short, approximately three minutes. After your testimony ask if any Committee members have any questions.  See here for more tips.

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to have your voice heard on these issues, please email your written testimony in Word or PDF format to: JUDtestimony@cga.ct.gov

The Legislative Office Building is located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford.

Please remember there are no weapons of any kind allowed inside the Capitol, Click here for the full list of prohibited items. (pdf)

Important weather information:
Please monitor weather conditions. There is a potential for a serious storm and the hearing could be rescheduled. CCDL will notify our members as soon as possible via email and social media if there is a cancellation. 

Public Hearing On Permit Fees

CCDL ACTION ALERT

Public hearing on the proposed carry permit fee increases

The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee will hold a public hearing on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 10:30 A.M. in Room 2E at The Legislative Office Building (LOB) located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford on the proposed permit fee increases.

The Governor’s proposal will limit the 2nd Amendment to only the wealthy with Bill No. 787 – AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET.

This bill will raise the current carry permit application fee from $140 to $370 and raise the current renewal fee from $70 to $300. The Governor’s office has said this will put Connecticut in line with New York City’s fees. This is way above the fees the surrounding states charge for their permits. Surrounding state fee are:

  • New York’s range by country $100 – $130 for initial application with free renewals
  • Rhode Island $40
  • Massachusetts $100 for 6 years
  • New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine do not even require a permit, so they are FREE.

CCDL needs our members to attend this hearing on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 10:30 A.M. in Room 2E at the LOB to show our opposition to these fee increases.

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to have your voice heard on this issue, please email your written testimony in Word or PDF format to: FINtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Be sure to cc your own legislators a copy of your testimony.

Members are encouraged to give oral testimony on how this fee increase will affect you and your family. Public speaker order will be determined by a lottery system. Lottery numbers will be drawn from 8:30 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. in First Floor Atrium of the LOB. Speakers arriving after the completion of the lottery will have their names placed at the end of the speaker list. Please submit 35 copies of written testimony to the Committee staff by 9:30 A.M. in First Floor Atrium of the LOB. Testimony received after the designated time may not be distributed until after the hearing. Please email written testimony in Word or PDF format to FINtestimony@cga.ct.gov . The Committee requests that testimony be limited to matters related to the items on the Agenda. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony. The Committee encourages witnesses to submit a written statement and to condense oral testimony to a summary of that statement. All public hearing testimony, written and spoken, is public information.

SUBJECT MATTER: Governor’s Bill
S.B. No. 787 – AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET.

Here are tips for providing testimony:

Introduce yourself (state your name and related bill) and indicate whether you support or oppose the bill, or are offering suggestions to improve it. Clearly explain your reasoning. It may be helpful to write your viewpoint out completely. Keep your remarks short, approximately three minutes. After your testimony ask if any Committee members have any questions.

If you have any questions email Ray Bevis, CCDL Legislative Coordinator at legislative@ccdl.us

Press Release – NH Signs Constitutional Carry

02/22/2017
For Immediate Release:

(Groton, CT) – The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (The state’s largest gun rights organization) highlights the state of New Hampshire adopting SB12 (permit-less/constitutional carry) into law.
Statement from CCDL President Scott Wilson:

“This is now the third New England state to have such laws with next to little bureaucratic financial nightmare attached to it. Our neighbors to the north are able to use their tax dollars for fixing roads or other needs the state may have. While Governor Malloy contemplates new ways to further restrict and tax the constitutional rights of Connecticut residents, New Hampshire today joined a growing list of states that support Constitutional Carry. This means that anyone who may legally possess a firearm may also carry it without further permits, licenses, or fees, as protected by the U.S. Constitution. Felons and persons otherwise prohibited still cannot legally own or carry firearms.”

Wilson also stated:

“It is interesting to point out that New Hampshire is leaving their permit system in place and lengthening their validity without increasing the fee. This is a tremendous convenience for New Hampshire citizens who wish to exercise reciprocal agreements with other states that are willing to participate. It’s a smart move on their part because responsible gun owners do not become a criminal just because they may want to travel to another state for business or vacation purposes. While Connecticut refuses to honor the permits of any other state, New Hampshire will now attempt to negotiate reciprocity with every other state in the nation; just like with state drivers licenses.”

–End–

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 27,000 members from across the state.

Thanks to this large supportive base, the CCDL has become a fixture at the state 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