Ackert For House Minority Leader

11/09/2016
For Immediate Release:

(Groton, CT) – The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (The state’s largest gun rights organization) is addressing a growing concern over the House Republican current leadership’s lack of support for 2nd Amendment related matters.

CCDL President Scott Wilson States the Following:

“With the election of 2016 over, Connecticut citizens face the upcoming 2017 legislative session with no one in the leadership position in the House Republican Caucus that will look out for the rights of gun owners. It has been a serious sore spot for the twenty-five thousand members of our organization. We have a legitimate expectation that politicians who swear under oath to uphold the constitution will follow through. It is their responsibility”.

Wilson also Added:

“Gun owners like myself are tired of seeing elected officials such as Themis Klarides (114th District) go along with whatever gun control proposals that come along. We know that some of the incumbents and the newly elected freshmen that we have reached out to feel the same. House Republican caucus members have an opportunity to elect a new leader Thursday, and we certainly hope that they take that initiative. State Representative Tim Ackert (8th District) is challenging Klarides for the leadership position, and we feel that Mr. Ackert is a well thought out logical choice to fill that role “.

Press Contact:
Scott Wilson
president@ccdl.us

–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 25,000 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

New OLR Report

Elections matter, and unless we win, the carry laws we now exercise may be at risk. This very recent report by the state Office of Legislative Research is an indicator that the firearm carry laws in CT are potentially up for debate in the 2017 session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

While we do not know for certain which state official requested this report, we are certain it was not someone that is friendly towards the 2nd Amendment.

____________________________________________________________________


olr-2016-r-0164
PERUTA V. SAN DIEGO
By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst


ISSUE
You asked for a summary of Peruta v. San Diego (824 F.3d 919), in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether the 2nd Amendment includes the right to carry concealed firearms in public.

SUMMARY
The 2nd Amendment states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed” (U.S. Const. Amend. II). By a seven to four margin, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Peruta v. San Diego (824F. 3d 919) that the 2nd Amendment “does not preserve or protect the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public” (Peruta at 924).

In this case, residents of two California counties were denied a license to carry concealed firearms because they did not show good cause under their counties’ policies to carry concealed firearms. They sued, contending that the good cause requirement as defined by the counties’ policies violated their right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment, holding that the counties’ policies do not violate the 2nd Amendment. A divided Ninth Circuit three-member panel initially reversed the decisions but the Ninth Circuit later granted rehearing by the full court (en banc).

On rehearing, the en banc court conducted similar historical analysis as the U.S. Supreme Court conducted in Heller (District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)) and McDonald (McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010)). The court said that “an overwhelming majority of the states to address the question. . . understood the right to bear arms, under both the Second Amendment and their state constitutions, as not including a right to carry concealed weapons in public” (Peruta at 936). Given the volume and consistency of historical data on the question, the court held that the “Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public” (id. at 924).

Like the U.S. Supreme Court did in Heller, the court left unanswered the question of whether the 2nd Amendment protects some ability to carry firearms in public (id. at 927). The court expressly stated that the 2nd Amendment “may or may not protect, to some degree, a right of a member of the general public to carry firearms in public. But the existence . . . and scope of such a right, are separate from and independent of the question presented here.”

According to the principal dissent, members of the general public have a constitutional right to carry firearms outside of the home for self-defense, and California’s restrictions on open and concealed carry, considered together, violate the 2nd Amendment.

BACKGROUND
With some exceptions, California’s current statutory scheme generally prohibits anyone from carrying concealed firearms (loaded or unloaded) in public. One exception allows concealed carry under a license (Cal. Penal Code §§ 25850, 26350, 25400.) To obtain a license, an applicant must (among other things) show “good cause,” as determined by the county sheriff or police department, as applicable (Cal. Penal Code §§ 25655 & 26160).

San Diego County defines “good cause” as “a set of circumstances that distinguish the applicant from the mainstream and causes him or her to be placed in harm’s way. Simply fearing for one’s personal safety alone is not considered good cause.” Yolo County does not define good cause but the county’s policy requires valid reasons for requesting a license and gives examples of what would be considered good cause and what would not. “Self-protection and protection of family (without credible threats of violence)” are not considered good cause. On the other hand, “victims of violent crime and/or documented threats of violence” would satisfy the good cause requirement.

CASE FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In 2009, plaintiffs Edward Peruta, a resident of San Diego County, and Adam Richards, a resident of Yolo County, were denied licenses to carry concealed firearms because they did not show good cause under their respective county’s policy. Along with other plaintiffs, they brought separate suits, challenging the denials on 2nd Amendment grounds.

The district court, in each case, granted summary judgment in favor of the counties, holding that their policies were constitutional (Peruta v. Cty. of San Diego, 758 F.Supp.2d 1106 (S.D. Cal. 2010); Richards v. Cty. of Yolo, 821 F.Supp.2d 1169 (E.D. Cal. 2011)). In upholding the counties’ restrictions, the district court relied on the fact that, at the time the counties denied the concealed weapons permits, it was legal to carry handguns openly in California under the Penal Code § 1203(g).

Plaintiffs appealed, and while the appeal was pending, California repealed its open carry law and enacted broad legislation prohibiting open carry of handguns in public locations. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, in Peruta, found San Diego County’s policy unconstitutional, holding that the 2nd Amendment requires that “the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home” (Peruta v. Cty. of San Diego, 742 F.3d 1144, 1172 (9th Cir. 2014)). In arriving at its decision, the panel considered the change in California law, which had the effect of generally prohibiting individuals from carrying handguns—whether loaded or unloaded—in public locations. Based on the Peruta decision, the Richards panel held Yolo County’s policy unconstitutional (Richards v. Prieto, 560 F App’x 681 (9th Cir. 2014)).

The Ninth Circuit subsequently granted a rehearing by the full court.

MAJORITY OPINION
The question before the en banc court was whether the 2nd Amendment protects someone’s ability to carry concealed firearms in public. Plaintiffs contended that (1) the 2nd Amendment guarantees the general public at least some ability to carry firearms in public; (2) California’s restrictions on concealed and open carry of firearms, taken together, violate the 2nd Amendment; and (3) there would be sufficient opportunity for public carry of firearms to satisfy the amendment if the good cause requirement for concealed carry, as interpreted by the sheriffs, were eliminated (Peruta at 927).

Like the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald, the en banc court engaged in extensive historical inquiry. It conducted an extensive review of firearm regulations as they existed in England before the 2nd Amendment was ratified. Likewise, it analyzed concealed carry laws that predated the Constitution and post-Amendment state court decisions.

According to the court, “the history relevant to both the Second Amendment and its incorporation by the Fourteenth Amendment lead to the same conclusion: the right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed firearm is not and never was protected by the Second Amendment” (Peruta at 929).
The court stated the following:
1. Under English law, the carrying of concealed weapons was consistently prohibited since at least 1541.
2. Concealed carry was consistently forbidden in the American colonies and was consistently forbidden by the states (with the sole and short-lived exception of Kentucky) both before and after the Civil War.
3. In the years after the adoption of the 2nd Amendment but before the adoption of the 14th Amendment, the state courts that considered the question nearly universally concluded that laws forbidding concealed weapons were consistent with both the 2nd Amendment and their state constitutions.
4. “In the decades immediately after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, all of the state courts that addressed the question upheld the ability of their state legislatures to prohibit concealed weapons” (Peruta at 939).
5. The U.S. Supreme Court (Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275 (1897)) unambiguously stated in 1897 that the 2nd Amendment protection does not extend to the carrying of concealed weapons. . . . and “the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons” (Peruta at 939, 940).

Given the volume of and consistency of state court rulings, the en banc Peruta court held ”that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms does not include, in any degree, the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public (id. at 939).”
The court further stated that:
Because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry—including a requirement of “good cause,” however defined—is necessarily allowed by the Amendment. There may or may not be a Second Amendment right for a member of the general public to carry a firearm openly in public. The Supreme Court has not answered that question, and we do not answer it here (id. at 939).

The court also stated that:
even construing the Second Amendment as protecting the right of the general public to carry a firearm in public, and even assuming that California’s restrictions on public open carry violate the Second Amendment so construed, it does not follow that California’s restrictions on public concealed carry violate the Amendment (id. at 941, 942).

In a separate concurring opinion, Judge Graber wrote that even assuming “the Second Amendment applied to concealed carry of firearms in public, the challenged laws and defendants’ actions survive heightened scrutiny and did not violate the constitution” (id. at 945). Judge Graber was joined in the dissent by Judge McKeown and Judge Thomas.

THE DISSENT
To the seven-member majority, the only legal issue was whether carrying concealed firearms is, in itself, a 2nd Amendment right as the right has been traditionally understood. But the four dissenting judges said the full legal context should have been considered.

According to the main dissent, by Judge Callahan, Heller “addressed concealed carry restrictions and instructed that those restrictions be evaluated in context with open-carry laws to ensure that the government does not deprive citizens of a constitutional right by imposing incremental burdens” (id. at 946, citing Heller, 554 U.S. at 629).

Judge Callahan said members of the general public have a 2nd Amendment right to carry firearms in public for general defense, and (1) “any fair reading of Heller and McDonald compels the conclusion that the right to keep and bear arms extends beyond one’s front door,” and (2) the history of the 2nd Amendment indicates that the right to bear arms applies outside the home (Peruta at 946, 947).

He said that “in the context of California’s choice to prohibit open carry, the counties’ policies regarding the licensing of concealed carry are tantamount to complete bans on the Second Amendment right to bear arms outside the home for self-defense, and are therefore unconstitutional” (id. at 950). But, according to Callahan, “even if the counties’ policies in light of the California laws prohibiting open carry were not tantamount to complete bans, the proper remedy would be to remand to the district courts” (id. at 951). Judge Smith concurred in a separate opinion.

In addition to the four-judge dissent, dissenting Judge Silverman wrote a separate dissent, joined by Judge Bea. He argued that the near-total refusal of some counties to issue carry permits could not pass any form of scrutiny. According to this dissent, licensed carry may or may not reduce violent crime in a statistically significant way, but it certainly does not increase crime; licensees are far more law-abiding than the general population.

VR:bs

You may download a copy of the OLR Report here: OLR Report – Peruta v San Diego (pdf)

Meeting Reminder – May 10th

CCDL holds its monthly general membership meeting at 7:00pm on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Elks Lodge in Middletown, CT.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

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

  • Legislative Wrap Up

  • Discussion on litigation against the State (Shew v Malloy)

  • Guest Speaker – Christian Ragosta, NRA Grassroots Field Coordinator

  • Candidate Forum (candidates TBD)

  • Family Picnic (volunteers needed)

  • Poker Run discussion (volunteers needed)

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. For hunting season we have camo/blaze hats, $25 each.
We still have patches, pins, and magnets (perfect to put on your car, gun safe, or refrigerator). We also sell the car decals in assorted colors and sizes that you can’t get online.

Food Drive
CCDL collects canned goods/non-perishables at all our meetings to be donated to local charities. 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 10, 2016 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

Legislative Session Wrap Up

The following is a guest post by CCDL’s Legislative Coordinator, Ray Bevis.
__________________________________________________
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

__________________________________________________

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.

Last Chance To Stop Gun Confiscation Bill!

There are only days left in this year’s legislative session.
Amended H.B. 5054 AN ACT PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE already passed the House late Wednesday night by a 104 to 42 vote (special thanks to Representatives Rob Sampson and Doug Dubitsky for their valiant effort fighting this bill in the House) and will be called in the Senate any day. This bill seizes firearms, ammunition and permits from legal gun owners that have an Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order (an order WITHOUT a hearing) filed against them. Nearly half of these Temporary Restraining Orders do not become full restraining orders. WE NEED EVERY MEMBER to call these key Senate leaders, as well as your own Senator today, and tell them to vote NO on H.B. 5054. Call the offices listed below and ask to speak with one of the Senators listed and leave a message. Feel free to use the scripted message below if needed.
You can find your local Senator and their contact information HERE.

Senate Republican Office: (860) 240-8800
Senator Len Fasano
Towns represented: Durham, East Haven, North Haven, Wallingford
Senator Toni Boucher
Towns represented: Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wilton
Senator Tony Hwang
Towns represented: Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston, Westport
Senator Scott Frantz
Towns represented: Greenwich, New Canaan, Stamford
Senator Kevin Kelly
Towns represented: Monroe, Seymour, Shelton, Stratford

Senate Democrats Office: (860) 240-8600
Senator Cathy Osten
Towns represented: Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich, Sprague
Senator Gayle Slossberg
Towns represented: Milford, Orange, West Haven, Woodbridge
Senator Paul Doyle
Towns represented: Cromwell, Middletown, Newington, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield
Senator Joan Hartley
Towns represented: Waterbury, Middlebury,  Naugatuck
Senator Andrew Maynard
Towns represented: Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, Voluntown

Scripted Phone Message Opposing H.B. 5054:
Hi Senator,
My name is _______________________,
I’m calling to voice my opposition to House Bill 5054. I urge you to vote NO on this bill. I oppose H.B. 5054 AN ACT PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE because…..
— [Just pick ONE of the following reasons OR use your own] —
…we already have two laws (Sec. 29-38c & 46b-38b) that remove firearms from an abuser, these are immediate and available 24 hours a day, not just during normal court hours.
…if this bill passes an ABUSER can easily file for a temporary restraining order to disarm the victim. Many women own legal firearms for protection.
…this bill will cause many wrongfully accused people to have their personal property seized prior to having a chance to be heard by a judge.
…if this law was truly about protecting victims, it would address the other weapons that a more commonly used. Guns are the least commonly used weapon in domestic violence incidents.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ________________.
Thank you for your time and have a good day.

CT Legislators Are About To Vote On YOUR Rights! Action Needed ASAP!

Legislative Alert!
There is slightly more than a week left in this year’s legislative session. The following gun bills may come up for a vote as early as tomorrow!  Please call the House and Senate leaders, as well as your own Representative and Senator today, and tell them to take the specified actions on the pending bills below.

  • House Majority Leader: Joe Aresimowicz – (860) 240-8500
  • House Minority Leader: Themis Klarides – (860) 240-8700
  • Senate Majority Leader: Bob Duff – (860) 240-8600
  • Senate Minority Leader: Len Fasano – (860) 240-8800

Also be sure to your call your local Representative and Senator as well, and tell them how you, as one of their constituents, want them to vote on the following bills.
You can look up your local Representative and Senator and their contact information here: www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp
_____________________________________________________________________________

Oppose HB 5054

AN ACT PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

This bill would violate due process rights for gun owners. Nearly half of these Temporary Restraining Orders do not become full restraining orders
_____________________________________________________________________________

Oppose HB 5623

AN ACT CONCERNING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, ACCESS TO MARSHALS, AND VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

This bill would violate due process rights for gun owners. Nearly half of these Temporary Restraining Orders do not become full restraining orders.
The same identical language from HB 5054 is included in this bill. This bill is a very unsettling attempt to divide gun owners to make them look like we somehow support human trafficking.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Oppose HB 5408

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRESENTATION OF A CARRY PERMIT

This bill would undermine the “reasonable suspicion” clause in the current law and would deprive gun owners of Constitutional rights protected under the 4th Amendment.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Support HB 5409

AN ACT CONCERNING APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR A TEMPORARY STATE PERMIT TO CARRY A PISTOL OR A REVOLVER.

 This bill is a worthy of support. This will help establish uniform criteria for local issuing authorities across the state.

________________________________________________________________________________

It is critical to contact your legislators to let them know your positions on these bills. Your communication with your elected officials is the only thing that will stop anti-gun bills from passing, and help pro-gun bills to pass. Remember, their job is to represent YOU!
If you need more information before contacting your legislators about these bills, please visit our blog for useful information, or email Ray Bevis at legislative@ccdl.us
CCDL’s strength lies in the actions of its members.  Please take action as soon as possible. Our rights are at stake!

Immediate Action Required! Contact Your Legislator Today

To all CCDL members,
The following bills have passed out of committee, and will be going to the House and Senate for a vote.
Please call or email your state Rep and your state Senator and ask them to take the following actions:
_____________________________________________________________________________

Oppose HB 5054

AN ACT PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

This bill would violate due process rights for gun owners. Nearly half of these Temporary Restraining Orders do not become full restraining orders
_____________________________________________________________________________

Oppose HB 5623

AN ACT CONCERNING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

This bill would violate due process rights for gun owners. Nearly half of these Temporary Restraining Orders do not become full restraining orders.
The same identical language from HB 5054 is included in this bill. This bill is a very unsettling attempt to divide gun owners to make them look like we somehow support human trafficking.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Oppose HB 5408
AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRESENTATION OF A CARRY PERMIT This bill would undermine the “reasonable suspicion” clause in the current law and would deprive gun owners of Constitutional rights protected under the 4th Amendment.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Support HB 5409

AN ACT CONCERNING APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR A TEMPORARY STATE PERMIT TO CARRY A PISTOL OR A REVOLVER.

 This bill is a worthy of support. This will help establish uniform criteria for local issuing authorities across the state.
________________________________________________________________________________

It is critical you contact your legislators to let them know your positions on these bills. Your communication with your elected officials is the only thing that will stop anti-gun bills from passing, and help pro-gun bills to pass.
If you need more information before contacting your legislators about these bills, please visit our blog for useful information, or email Ray Bevis at legislative@ccdl.us
Our strength lies in the actions of our members.  Please take action as soon as possible. Our rights are at stake!

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.

_________________________________________________________________


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.

_________________________________________________________________

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.

ALERT! Email NOW!

Did you submit your testimony for today’s public hearing?
Why not? You still have time. Testimony may be emailed up until 10am today.
Don’t know what to write?
Don’t know where to email it?
Just don’t have the time? Maybe this will help you. COPY & PASTE this letter below, fill in your information & email it to JUDtestimony@cga.ct.gov by 10:00am today.
MAKE SURE YOUR VOICE IS HEARD!
________________________________________________________________
14 March 2016

Dear Judiciary Committee members;

I’m a resident of Connecticut and wish to voice my opposition to the following raised bills;

H.B. 5054 ‘AN ACT PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE’

H.B. 5623 ‘AN ACT CONCERNING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING’

H.B. 5622 ‘AN ACT CONCERNING THE AVAILABILITY OF ERASED RECORDS IN DETERMINING WHETHER A PERSON IS A SUITABLE PERSON TO CARRY A PISTOL OR REVOLVER’

S.B. 429 ‘AN ACT CONCERNING SERVICE OF RESTRAINING ORDERS’

I ask that all members of the committee not support these bills.
Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
[INSERT: your name]
[INSERT: address (optional)]
[INSERT: town, CT zip]
[INSERT: phone # (optional)]