Press Release – 2015 Legislative Session Is Over

06/04/2015
For Immediate Release:

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (The state’s largest grass-roots gun rights group) is expressing its appreciation for the State Legislature’s decision to cease action on bills that would have seriously affected due process rights of gun owners. Particularly Senate Bill 650.

Comments from CCDL President Scott Wilson:

“Fortunately many legislators came to realize that there are already statutes that protect potential victims against domestic violence. If someone truly is a threat to an individual, or if there is proof of active violence, Connecticut state law already has those potential victims covered”.

“Persons who never threatened or harmed anyone would have automatically lost possession of their personal property for two years or longer if SB650 had become law. We are talking about people potentially being punished who have never committed a crime, or been convicted of any wrongdoing. That is a harsh and unjust outcome to imagine”.

Wilson concluded:

“CCDL would like to thank our members for contacting and communicating with their legislators, and for testifying publicly in Hartford this year. Hopefully this outcome marks a shift back towards common sense legislation that impacts gun rights”.

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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 18.000 members across the state.

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

Press Contact:

Scott Wilson
president@ccdl.us
860-235-7490
www.ccdl.us

SB650 – Quick Update

CCDL’s Legislative Coordinator Ray Bevis spent all day and night in Hartford yesterday following the closing days of the 2015 legislative session (Thank you Ray!). Here’s a quick update he sent in after finally getting home early this morning:

The bill SB650 was called in the senate last night. An amendment was called, debated, voted on and the amendment passed. Then another amendment was called by Senator Joe Markley. While Senator Markley was summarizing his amendment, Senator Duff who is the majority Leader and is his job to set the daily agenda / calendar interrupted Senator Markley to temporarily pass on the bill and move onto another bill.
This is just a passed temporarily on the agenda. It is not a passing of the bill. The bill is still on the senate agenda but passed by temporarily. They can come back to it but with a deadline so close we think that is unlikely to happen. But IF this bill was to be called again in this session it would still need to be called in the senate and senator Markley would continue with his summation of his amendment.

CALL Your Legislators Today!

CALL your legislators today! The CT General Assembly will be voting on a bill that will seize firearms, ammunition, permits, and certificates from lawful gun owners without evidence, without witnesses, without a police report, and without a chance to be heard. This bill is called S.B. 650 – AN ACT CONCERNING TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS.

Last year in Connecticut 45% of these temporary restraining orders were found to be false after the judge was able to hear from both sides. Temporary restraining orders are based solely on the accuser’s word. No evidence is required.

Tell your legislators to protect the ability for the victims to defend themselves. Tell your legislator not to support a bill that will disarm someone without the constitutional right to be heard first. This bill will give abusers, stalkers, and rapists a way to disarm their victims.

To find your legislators and their contact info, go to: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp
Your immediate action is needed! Make sure your voice gets heard, call your legislator today.

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.

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

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].
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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)

Please Contact Judiciary Committee Members

The Judiciary Committee has held public hearings on four gun related bills so far. Over the next 10 days is the time to call, write, email, and/or visit these legislators and voice your opposition to the following bills:

  • SB0650 – AN ACT CONCERNING TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS
  • HB6962 – AN ACT CONCERNING FIREARM SAFETY
  • HB6848 – AN ACT PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
  • HB7028 – AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPT OF CORRECTION, ACCESS TO THE FIREARMS DATABASE BY PAROLE OFFICERS, AND PRESENTATION OF A CARRY PERMIT.

Sometime between now and April 13th, the Judiciary Committee will vote to find these bills favorable or not. A Joint Favorable Bill that passes a committee will move to the next step, and become closer to becoming law. A simple voicemail message, letter, postcard, email, or visit can go along way. Now is also a great opportunity to start a dialog with your Representative and Senator and let them know that you are concerned and oppose these bills that are currently in the Judiciary Committee. They can influence other legislators. The committee information and members can be found online at: http://www.cga.ct.gov/jud/
You can also download a list of the Committee members contact information here: CCDL_Judiciary_Contact_List (pdf)

Now is also a great opportunity to start a dialog with your Representative and Senator and let them know that you are concerned and oppose these bills that are currently in the Judiciary Committee, they can influence other legislators. Your legislators can be found online here: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

These things will only take a few minutes of your time this chilly March weekend. Imagine these legislators walking into their offices on Monday morning and finding hundreds of voice mails and emails from CCDL members concerned about the issues above. Wouldn’t that be great? Make it happen!

Hearing Today

Reminder, today is a public hearing on another anti-gun bill. Please attend today if at all possible. Even if you are afraid to speak, you can attend as a show of solidarity. If you can not attend, there is still time to submit written testimony via email. All the info can be found here.

If you are attending, please keep a few things in mind.

  • No firearms or weapons of any kind allowed inside the building. This includes those credit card knives and keychain knives you may forget you have. There will be metal detectors at the door.
  • Because of the metal detectors, expect there to be a line getting in. The line may be long, so get there early to sign up to testify. You need to be in room 2500 before 9:30am to sign up.
  • Dress appropriately. Business casual or better. Show respect for the American legislative process, even though you oppose what some legislators are trying to do. No signs or props please.
  • Parking in and around the LOB can be limited. Get there as early as possible for the best parking. Parking info and directions to the LOB can be found here.
  • When you get there, look for other people with the CCDL logo. We’ll have people there to help you and answer any questions. We’ll also have small logo stickers you can wear. Make sure you get one and wear it when it can be seen. It quickly shows the legislators how many people support our positions.
  • There is a cafeteria where you can buy breakfast and lunch. After you sign in, you will usually find CCDL members there killing time before the hearing. Stop in and say hi!

Even if you can’t make it, you will still be able to watch the hearing live on the internet. You should be able to watch it at the following link starting at 10:30am. http://ct-n.com/CTNplayer.asp?livestream=1