HB6200 Update

THANK YOU, to the hundreds of members who took the time to respond to last night’s Action Alert.

Letting the Judiciary Committee members hear your voice in opposition to H.B.6200 ‘AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRESENTATION OF A CARRY PERMIT’ this early is key to letting the Committee know that gun owners in Connecticut are staying vigilant.

Unfortunately, the committee voted to raise this bill once again and move it closer to becoming law. The open carry bill was added to a long list of other bills which prevent it from being voted on individually. The vote passed by a voice vote, some committee members commented that their vote to raise isn’t necessarily their vote in support of any one bill on the agenda. Rep. Rob Sampson commented that the bill is unconstitutional on its face and should not even be on the agenda.

Now, that the committee voted to raise H.B.6200, the Legislative Commissioners’ Office (LCO) will draft the bill into the legal language. Once this happens we will prepare for the public hearing and public testimony stage of the process. A public hearing can happen anytime between now and the middle of March. No date has been set yet.

CCDL will continue to monitor this and keep our members updated on a public hearing date.

TIP: Start to prepare your written testimony for the hearing now and save it. Feel free to use some of the sample letters provided in last night’s Action Alert. You can also sign up through the Connecticut General Assembly website to track H.B.6200 yourself.

Carry On!
Ray Bevis
CCDL Legislative Coordinator

For more information:
Bill H.B. 6200
https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2017&bill_num=6200

Connecticut General Assembly website
https://www.cga.ct.gov

State Budget Proposal

To our fellow members and supporters

CCDL is well aware of the budget proposal by the Governor to drastically increase the fees for pistol permit applications and renewals. We are actively working on counter-proposals to help mitigate the costs that Governor Malloy has proposed.

His proposal would negatively impact Connecticut citizens who merely wish to protect themselves and their families. His plan calls to put his failed policies on the backs of Connecticut gun owners.

We will keep our members updated every step along the way

Scott Wilson
President
CCDL, Inc.

An Open Letter To Senator Murphy

Greetings Senator Murphy,

Your recent call for increased infringements on the rights of Americans (more gun control) coupled with decreased vetting of foreign entities has now reached ‘the Lunatic Fringe’.

Our organization (Connecticut Citizens Defense League) has no opinion on immigration as a sole subject, but when you conjoin calls for gun control along with mass immigration of foreigners, it is obvious what you are attempting to do.

You are now prioritizing non-citizens over legitimate citizens of the United States by calling for gun control to accommodate those non-citizens. The purpose of your idea is simply to push fanatical gun restrictions any way that you can. This reasoning is simply unacceptable to most Americans.

Let’s face it Senator Murphy, the bottom line is that you very simply do not trust your fellow Americans with firearms. The fact that you cling to this position is clearly evidenced by your ceaseless calls for gun control. What is particularly troubling is the fact that you are doing so while admitting that some immigrants from certain regions of the world may be so dangerous that we need to ban legal firearms to reduce the ‘risks’ of these people being here. It is sheer lunacy that you would risk the lives of your fellow citizens in such a manner if given the opportunity.

Your way would make all of us less safe if you eliminate the means for us to protect our lives and our families. Therefore, you and your beliefs are more dangerous to this nation than any immigrant from anywhere in the world ever could be.

Scott Wilson
President
CCDL, Inc.

Legislative Session Wrap Up

The following is a guest post by CCDL’s Legislative Coordinator, Ray Bevis.
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The 2016 Connecticut General Assembly adjourned late Wednesday night. This session CCDL tracked 11 firearm-related bills. Of those 11 bills, three passed and are awaiting the governor’s signature before officially becoming law. We would like to thank all the members who took the time to contact legislators and especially the members who attended the public hearings this year. This is an imperative part of preserving our Second Amendment rights here in Connecticut.

The three bills that passed this session are:

A complete list of ALL bills passed this session can be found here: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2016/lbp/lobp.htm

What do these bills mean to us?
H.B. No. 5054 AN ACT PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (Effective October 1, 2016)

  • Shortens the deadline by which a person must transfer, deliver, or surrender his or her firearms, ammunition and permits, if they becomes ineligible to possess them as a result of becoming subject to a civil restraining order, civil protection order, criminal protective order, or foreign order of protection involving force, to 24 hours. It extends these requirements to ex parte orders (i.e., those issued without a prior hearing).
  • Gives people who must surrender their firearms, ammunition and permits the option of surrendering them to a municipal police department on the DESPP commissioner’s behalf, instead of just to the DESPP commissioner. It requires the police department, as is currently the case for the DESPP commissioner, to exercise due care when receiving and holding the firearms.
  • The police must destroy any firearms or ammunition that have not been transferred back by the end of one year.
  • Currently, a person subject to an order of protection who violates the firearms and ammunition transfer, delivery, or surrender requirement is guilty of criminal possession of a firearm or ammunition as applicable. The bill extends these penalties to people who commit such violations while subject to an ex parte order. By law, criminal possession of a firearm or ammunition is a class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison with a two-year mandatory minimum.
  • Requires the DESPP commissioner, in conjunction with the chief state’s attorney and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, to develop a protocol to ensure that people who become ineligible to possess firearms transfer, deliver, or surrender them as appropriate. The bill requires the commissioner to update the protocol to appropriately apply to the bill’s provisions.
  • The DESPP commissioner must not issue a gun permit, handgun eligibility certificate, or long gun eligibility certificate to anyone subject to an ex parte order. By law, the commissioner may revoke a permit or certificate for any event that would have disqualified the holder from being issued such a credential.
  • Under the bill, DESPP must reinstate a gun or ammunition credential it revoked based on an ex parte order, if the order expires and the respondent, who is not otherwise disqualified, notifies DESPP and it verifies the expiration.

H.B. No. 20 AN ACT CONCERNING CARRYING A FIREARM WHILE INTOXICATED OR UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL (Effective October 1, 2016)

  • This bill lowers, from .10% to .08%, the blood alcohol content (BAC) level that triggers a presumptive violation of the law’s prohibition on carrying a loaded firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

S.B. No. 455 AN ACT CONCERNING WEAPONS IN VEHICLES (Effective October 1, 2016)

  • This bill codifies case-law by exempting, from the existing ban on carrying certain weapons in a vehicle, someone having a dirk knife or police baton in a vehicle while lawfully moving his or her household goods or effects from one place to another or from one residence to another. (State v. Deciccio)

What should you do now?
If your legislator voted to protect your rights, send them a “Thank You” note or email. Offer to volunteer on their campaign.

If your legislator voted against your rights, send them a cordial note or email stating they will not have your vote in November and you will make sure to ask everyone you know in their district NOT to vote for them.

The best way to protect our rights is to get the right people elected.

Don’t know how your Senator/Representative voted? You can find the tally sheets for H.B. 5054 at:
https://www.cga.ct.gov/…/V…/s/2016SV-00288-R00HB05054-SV.htm (Senate)
https://www.cga.ct.gov/…/V…/h/2016HV-00154-R00HB05054-HV.htm (House)

Don’t know who your legislator is? Find out at:
https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

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Note: since the legislature failed to pass a budget this session (the one bill they were required to pass), a special session will be called. The session is supposed to only address the budget, but it’s not uncommon for legislators to try and slip in pet bills that failed to pass during the regular session. CCDL will continue to follow the goings-on in Hartford, and will will notify our membership of any anti-gun wording in the budget.

Zeig Mir Deine Papiere – Show Me Your Papers

The following is a guest post by CCDL member David Ortiz of New Britain.

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A phrased quite often uttered from the mouths of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany as they stopped anyone they deemed suspicious and quite possibly harboring a Jew, “Zeig mir deine papiere” in English means “show me your papers”. As Jay Roberts so eloquently stated at the Public Safety Committee public hearing on February 3rd, “most people are not familiar with that saying because we beat the Nazis and we have a fourth amendment”. That is exactly what is at stake here for all of us in Connecticut, gun owner or not, our 4th Amendment right to be secure in our persons, papers, and privacy is in jeopardy. We face the complete obliteration of our 4th Amendment rights for the sake of security. This is at stake when legislation such as H.B. 5408 is attempted to be raised and signed into law. An act concerning the presentation of a carry permit must be stopped. Citizens of Connecticut must come together to stop these unconstitutional jabs at our Bill of Rights and our Constitutional Amendments which are here to protect each and every one of us from arbitrary governmental intrusions to our daily lives. Like one our nation’s founding father Benjamin Franklin had said on multiple occasions, “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.”

We The People” …it seems we the people have forgotten the meaning of those words and that which was written for us all in the Bill of Rights. We have to stand up for what is granted upon each and every one of us in that declaration. Law enforcement must take a step back from the badge and take a good hard look at themselves in the mirror and come to grips that they are much more than a badge number within a department but that they themselves are members of this society and citizens of the United States of America. They have to realize that their authority should never compromise the Rights and personal liberties of the persons whom they’ve taken an oath to serve as peace officers and that their authority does not yield higher authority over the Supreme Court and their case rulings. Beyond the uniform and the shiny badge is a man or woman just like those who they seek to provide a public service to. Law enforcement should recognize that without those items they too are but citizens of the state of Connecticut with rights and liberties just like the rest of us, which should never be violated under any circumstance. To ask a person to provide identifiable information about themselves against their will in any other profession, outside of law enforcement, would seem ludicrous to most. As a professional working in the realm of social work I often witness the difficulty many American’s have in disseminating such privacy-related information to myself and to others. However, in the social work profession in order to protect the clients right to privacy under the 4th amendment, consent is always asked beforehand. Law enforcement in essence seek to gain ease of access towards obtaining a person’s personal information for the purposes of verification but through means such as bypassing the legality and constitutionality of a person’s 4th amendment right. In the process they are making their job easier but making it harder for the public to live free from unwarranted governmental intrusions and unreasonable stops, searches, and seizures of their persons and papers. You either stand for something or you stand to lose everything.

David Ortiz

New Britain, Connecticut

Connecticut Citizens Defense League Member

University of Southern California, MSW, Graduate Student

Opposition To Gun-Violence Study Misconstrued

The following is a guest post by CCDL Executive Member Bob Starr. It was originally published in the Republican-American newspaper.

See our Letter Writing Guide for helpful tips and links for crafting your own opinion pieces for local newspapers.

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This is in response to Jonathan P. Costa Sr.’s letter published in the Republican-American on April 11 in which he expresses his disagreement with an April 6 opinion offered by J. Mark Harran. (subscription required to read full links)

I am left wondering how Mr. Costa’s opinion was formed.

He claims that the NRA has thwarted efforts to conduct research on gun violence. The NRA has indeed opposed some research which it believed was being proposed by organizations which appeared to be starting with an agenda that might jeopardize the credibility of any reports that would result from it. What puzzles me is that Mr. Costa starts out by saying that research has not taken place and then proceeds to cite “facts” for which he gives no sources.

I have heard many opinions expressed both for and against “campus carry” (the original opinion’s topic). It is impossible to definitively know whether such a policy would result in positive or negative consequences. My feeling is that it would most likely be both.

The title above Mr. Costa’s letter claims that profit is the NRA’s motive in defending the second amendment, but I don’t see any indication in the letter to support that assertion or any actual expression of that belief. Since the NRA is a non-profit organization I’m not sure how that would even be a concern.
Robert Starr

Gun-Seizure Law Makes Us Less Safe

The following is a guest post by Brooke Cheney.
Brooke is a competitive shooter (IDPA), certified Range Safety Officer, certified firearms instructor, and an active CCDL member. She owns A Great Start Shooting School in Harwinton, CT.
This article was originally published in the Republican-American newspaper.

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Even if they’ve never set foot in a courtroom, Americans know they have the right to “tell it to the judge.” This fundamental right, known as the right to due process, is the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. It’s a right our Colonial ancestors didn’t enjoy. As subjects of the British crown, they routinely were abused by government agents who brought false, baseless charges against innocent people. Our ancestors had no right to tell their side of the stories, face their accusers or demand evidence of crimes.

Today, Connecticut lawmakers are debating a bill that would take us back to the days when the government trampled our rights and freedoms. Under House Bill 5054 and others, the government could seize a person’s firearms without giving him a chance to tell his side of the story or face his accuser in court. He wouldn’t even have to be accused of a crime. Under this bill, a law-abiding citizen could be forced to hand over his firearms based solely on a brief statement by an accuser. Innocent people would have no right to defend themselves before being deprived of property and due process.

Our Constitution is under assault. Gun-control groups are trying to undermine our freedoms and chip away at our constitutional protections. Supporters of H.B. 5054 claim they want to protect victims of domestic violence by taking firearms from the accused. However, under this proposal, there is no way to know if they are taking the guns away from the abuser or the abused.

As a firearms instructor, I have heard many stories of women choosing to become educated with firearms to defend themselves against their abusers. This bill could leave victims of domestic violence defenseless. A better approach would be to change the attitudes and behaviors of the abusers, and promote measures enabling victims to defend themselves.

A tragic case in New Jersey illustrates the folly of gun-control laws. Carol Bowne, 39, of Berlin, N.J., was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend. Bowne had applied for a firearms permit in an attempt to defend herself — months before she was attacked. Bowne was granted a restraining order, but she knew it was only a piece of paper and would not protect her if her ex-boyfriend chose not to abide by it. But New Jersey’s gun-control laws prevented her from being able to defend herself.

This tragedy also shows that if you take away guns from domestic abusers, they will find other weapons, or acquire firearms illegally.

H.B. 5054 is part of the fear-based agenda Connecticut lawmakers have adopted in recent years. In 2013, they imposed a ban on magazines with capacities greater than 10 rounds, banned all new general-purpose sporting rifles (a measure that was found ineffective because of the rarity of crimes committed with these rifles based on the federal assault-weapons ban of 1994), and imposed registration on all of the state’s existing rifles — while ignoring the suggestions from the FBI’s multi-year study on how to prevent school shootings.

H.B. 5054 is ripe for abuse by angry, bitter domestic partners, unhappy neighbors or coworkers, anyone who just doesn’t like you. Our lives can be messy, and motives are not always clear. But what is clear is our right under the Constitution to defend ourselves against an accuser and tell our side of the story.

I urge Connecticut’s lawmakers to reject H.B. 5054, no matter how well-intentioned the proponents are.

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NOTE: The Judiciary Committee will be debating this and other related bills this coming Monday, March 28th. We urge members to call or email members of the committee and tell them not to strip domestic violence victims of their ability to defend themselves from violent abusers without the opportunity to tell their side of the story to a judge.

Update On Shew v Malloy

The following is a statement from CCDL president Scott Wilson and lead attorney David Thompson.

On Thursday (2/11/2016) CCDL along with the other name plaintiffs will be filing our request for the United States Supreme Court to take up our case on appeal (Shew v Malloy).

This is an important moment in the case. Our appeal is going to focus on the ban on so-called assault weapons, but we want to emphasize that we haven’t given up in any way, shape, or form on the challenge to the magazine ban.

We remain fully committed to ensuring that the magazine ban is thrown out. But we want to give the Supreme Court a menu of options – so our petition will focus on the ban on safety enhancing features, and we expect that a subsequent petition in the New York case will focus on both magazines and the banned features.
Rest assured that if the Supreme Court wants to take up both issues (firearms and magazines), it will have the ability to do so, and that whatever ruling comes from the Court on magazines will redound fully to the benefit of Connecticut.

More information about the petition will be available on Thursday after it is filed with the Court.

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Supreme Court challenges are extremely expensive. The total bill for DC v Heller was $3.5 million.
CCDL is an all-volunteer, free to join non-profit organization (501c4).
As such all the money to fund this fight for your constitutional rights comes solely from donations. If you can afford to, please donate to our Litigation Fund.
Thank you.

About Yesterday’s (Non)Decision by the Supreme Court

This is a guest post by CCDL president Scott Wilson.
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While yesterday’s decision to deny cert in Friedman v Highland Park was disappointing, we knew that this would be likely. The fact remains that SCOTUS repeatedly kept conferencing the petition. This underscores that the matter is significantly important, but it was not the right time yet to hear a petition of this sort.

Some important things to note:
The inaction of the Supreme Court to not review Friedman v Highland Park is not based on merits of the case.

The Supreme Court will often decline the first case that comes before it to allow for other courts to offer a broader view of things to come.

There are differences between the opinions that came out of the 7th Circuit (Highland Park) and the 2nd Circuit (our case as well as New York’s). As such, arguments from our attorney in our petition to the Supreme Court will be tailored somewhat differently based on this.

We are still waiting on an opinion from the 4th Circuit (Maryland) in a similar case as well. One way we can be helped is if the Circuit renders a favorable opinion for the plaintiffs in that case. This is possible, but there is no certainty. Our hope is that the opinion gets published prior to our deadline to submit our appeal.

My statement as of now is this:
This has been a long fight from all of you to get to this point. Everyone has worked so hard, and in so many different ways to get us where we are, now we have to hang in there a bit longer.
I personally would rather go down swinging and maybe connect than to do nothing. Being that many of our rights in this country are on a downward trajectory as it is, the alternative we faced was to do nothing and accept our ultimate fate. I do not want to look back on my life one day years from now and think that we just let it all happen, and did nothing to try to stop it. To all of you, who feel the same way; thank you!

My final thoughts:
The Governor of Connecticut yesterday released a press statement after the ‘denial for Certiorari’ was released. In his press release, he sounded off in a manner which indicates he believes the Supreme Court’s “non-decision” was an ultimate victory for anti-gun laws. I’d like to take the opportunity to make sure that the governor of this state understands that we are not done, and I hope he enjoys a brief respite built upon the smoldering embers of our Constitution.

Scott Wilson – CCDL President

Hartford Home Invasion

This is a guest post by CCDL president Scott Wilson
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CCDL President Scott Wilson speaks out about Hartford home invasion (09/05):

On a Saturday evening in Hartford on September 5th, three violent criminals set their sights on a person whom they believed to be easy prey. Instead of ending up with a helpless victim for their choosing, two of these “alleged” criminals ended up at the hospital shot and bleeding with very serious wounds. Thankfully the intended victim only sustained minor injuries as a result of his ordeal. But certainly this experience will be life changing enough for him and his family.

Was another “Cheshire Style” home invasion preempted by the hands of a person who was lawfully armed? We may never know the answer to this for certain, but I would argue that the chances for such an outcome were enhanced given the knowledge that a multitude of armed intruders came prepared with weapons and zip ties.

Instead of news reports of mercilessly murdered victims who helplessly pleaded for their lives, a different and much more fortunate outcome replaced what could have easily been horrific news headlines that echoed across the country. Positive outcomes like this one do not sell as many newspapers, or gain as many website clicks; but they should considering what might have happened.

There is an eerie silence from Connecticut based gun control activists at the moment. Either because they do not want to admit the truth, or because they do not want people to know the truth. Maybe both.

Guns in the hands of people who wish to protect themselves can make a difference. This is why we should have the choice to protect our families the way we feel best. There were no police on hand to rush in and save the day. Just one man looking out for his family’s best interest.

Scott Wilson
CCDL President