For information on how to support this legal challenge, see this post.
And the lawsuit is filed! Here is the official release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 22, 2013
Contact: Scott Wilson
President, CT Citizens’ Defense League
Contact: Brian Stapleton, Esq.
Goldberg Segalla, LLP
Bridgeport, CT – Today, a widely-anticipated lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, challenging the constitutionality of the new firearms law that was passed hastily by the Connecticut legislature in response to the tragic shooting in Newtown by a disturbed individual. The lawsuit seeks immediate injunctive relief and a ruling declaring the new law unconstitutional under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It alleges that Connecticut’s new firearms law is not only unconstitutional but dangerous, since it makes both citizens and law enforcement less safe by depriving citizens of firearms that are in common use throughout the country. The very firearms and design features banned by the new law are commonly used in part because of safety, accuracy and ease-of-use features that make them effective in the hands of citizens who must defend themselves and their families against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey such laws.
Brought on behalf of individual gun owners, retailers, and citizen’s defense and sportsmen’s organizations, the lawsuit seeks to vindicate the constitutional rights of citizens who are harmed by the broad prohibitions and unworkable vagueness of the new law. The legal challenge focuses on Connecticut’s ban of more than 100 additional common firearms that the law now dubs “assault weapons” and on the ban of standard design features, including magazines that hold more than 10 round of ammunition, that provide improved safety, accuracy, and ease-of-use. The lawsuit also challenges the practical bans imposed by the new law on an even broader array of firearms due to the law’s vague language and interpretative confusion combined with severe criminal penalties.
Plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit include individuals such as an elderly widow who lives alone in a rural area where the emergency response time of a lone resident trooper serving the area is 45 minutes, a rabbi whose synagogue in the Bridgeport area has been broken into by intruders, a young professional woman whose efforts to defend herself are made more difficult by the loss of an arm due to cancer, among other individuals.
In addition, retailers whose businesses have been severely harmed by the law have joined the lawsuit, which was conceived and organized by fellow-plaintiff organizations the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, commonly known as CCDL, and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen. Both organizational plaintiffs represent large numbers of Connecticut citizens whose rights to own the firearms of their choice for self-defense and other lawful purposes, such as sports shooting and hunting, have been harmed by the new prohibitions.
Despite the new law being called “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety,” Connecticut’s new firearms law makes Connecticut citizens less safe. Among the individuals harmed by the law’s provisions are women, the elderly, and anyone of a smaller physical stature — individuals who typically lack the strength to operate older style, heavier, or difficult to use firearms and yet who need to be able to protect themselves in challenging home-invasion and other self-defense situations.
CCDL’s President, Scott Wilson, who has seen his organization’s membership grow from 2,500 to 7,600 in just a few months, says “On behalf of our members and all of the plaintiffs, we wish to thank the National Rifle Association, whose vision and stalwart defense of citizens’ fundamental rights has helped make this important legal challenge possible.” Wilson says, “Connecticut’s new gun ban violates Second Amendment rights by depriving law-abiding citizens of firearms that are in common use throughout the country precisely because of their known effectiveness in the protection of citizens, their families, and homes. Criminals and the mentally ill will not abide by this terrible law, which means it has the perverse effect of actually making citizens and law enforcement officers less safe.”
Bob Crook, Executive Director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, says, “This law will do nothing to prevent a tragedy or solve the problem of crime committed with guns. Instead of violating constitutional rights, we need to get serious about addressing violence and mental illness.” He continued, “Two recent independent studies by Pew and the federal government have just revealed that gun homicides are down almost 40% and general crime involving guns has dropped a whopping 70% since 1993, which corresponds with the elimination of the federal assault weapons ban. In contrast, the few areas of the country where gun crimes have increased dramatically are the very places where local or state governments have banned or severely restricted gun ownership by law-abiding citizens.”
Many of the design features now banned by Connecticut’s new law have long been standard in firearms design as they enhance safety, accuracy and ease-of-use, and include: design features that enhance a citizen’s ability to balance a firearm properly so that it can be shot safely and accurately based on the size of the owner – especially if the owner is smaller-sized like many women, the elderly, and youth shooters (retractable shoulder stock); design features that allow a long gun to be held more easily for accuracy and to be held onto by its owner if an attacker tries to take the gun from a victim (pistol grip and forward pistol grip); design features that allow those who are in stressful situations with multiple home-invaders or attackers to have sufficient bullets for meaningful self-defense without impractical situation of having to try to reload or access a second gun (standard magazine capacities over 10 rounds), etc. The specific firearms now banned by the law include some of the most commonly used and popular models in Connecticut and in America today, including the light and versatile AR-15.
Some local retailers supporting the lawsuit say that in addition to the increased dangers created by the law, the law is vague and unworkable. Although they are knowledgeable about various types of firearms, many are having difficulty trying to determine which firearms are banned and which are legal to sell. If they decide incorrectly, they could be facing years in jail. Some say it is difficult for reputable dealers to continue serving the law-abiding citizens of Connecticut under these circumstances. If licensed dealers leave the state, it will become increasingly difficult for the people of Connecticut to acquire firearms to defend themselves. Meanwhile, these retailers say, the criminals will still be armed and in an even stronger position to harm and terrorize the people of Connecticut.
The Connecticut lawsuit, like similar legal challenges in New York, Colorado and Maryland, is expected to better define the limits of a citizen’s right to own a commonly used firearm of personal choice for self-defense, defense of family, and other lawful purposes. Each of these states has enacted new firearms laws that make citizens and law enforcement less safe as they try to defend against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey these laws.
UPDATE: Here is a link to a pdf of the actual lawsuit:
Filed Stamped Copy USDC CT Complaint (pdf)
Understanding CT New Gun Laws
Monday, April 29, 2013. 6:00-7:00 PM
Municipal Center PUblic Assembly Room, 200 North Main Street
Markley, Adinolfi, Sampson all voted NO on SB1160, so expect a different tone to this meeting then the last one with Fasano and Yaccarino.
CCDL’s Rally For Your Rights is tomorrow. Are you excited? Are you attending? Are you getting everyone you know to attend?
I’m going to try and hit on some of the questions we’ve been getting. We’ve covered most of them here before, but this will put them all in one place.
What if it rains? Is there a rain-date?
No, there is no rain date. The rally will go on rain or shine. Some of our speakers like John Lott are flying in for the rally. They won’t be able to come back another time. Also our permit to use the Capitol grounds does not allow for a rain date. If we reschedule we have to go through the entire permit process all over again. The current weather report shows showers in the morning, ending around 9-10am. The rest of the day will be cloudy, with a high temperature around 60F.
Will there be buses running from Cabela’s again?
No, there are no buses from Cabela’s like there was for Lobby Day. Logistically it just doesn’t work for this type of event. Lobby day was an ongoing all day thing. People coming in, seeing their legislators and leaving.
The rally on the other hand has a fixed start and stop time (12-3pm), and the vast majority of people will stay for the entire thing. If we have 5,000 people at the rally (and I hope there are far more then that) you would need 100 buses all loading up at Cabela’s at the same time, all dropping off at the Capitol at the same time, and all picking people back up at the same time.
If you only had say 10 buses running (which would still cost a fortune, for Lobby Day there were 4 buses) they would have to start running full loads at 7am to get everyone there by noon, and the last people to leave the rally wouldn’t get back to Cabela’s until after 8pm.
There ARE some buses that have been privately chartered by gun clubs or individual members. If you belong to a club, check to see if they have a bus, and I know there is one leaving the Torrington area that I think still has some open seats. There is also some discussion on the Facebook Event Page about carpools.
If there are no buses, where can we park?
First, I strongly suggest carpooling. See above about buses. There is very limited parking at the Capitol itself, and half of that will be closed due to our rally. Expect the other half to be already filled due to an earlier event taking place inside. There is on street metered parking, and plenty of public lots and parking garages around the area. See this post for a map of most of them.
Can I carry a gun at the rally? Can I open carry?
CCDL supports ALL lawful means of carrying a gun. It is legal to carry a firearm on the grounds of the Capitol building. Open carry is legal in CT. CCDL takes no position on how one should carry other then carry legally.
If you have a permit and are comfortable with open carry, by all means do. Plenty of others will be as well. There are some caveats though. Most important, it is illegal to carry a gun in Bushnell Park, which is right next to the Capitol. Do not cut through the park to get to the Capitol if you are carrying a gun. You also can not carry inside the Capitol building itself (not that you should have any need to go in there). Remember what was legal to carry in public last month may not be legal this month because of the newly redefined Assault Weapon Ban. Any gun that falls under the ban (AR-15 style, AK types, pistols with over 10 rounds, etc) is no longer allowed to be carried in public. If you aren’t sure, don’t bring it. Handguns openly carried should be in some type of retention holster and remain holstered at all times. Long arms should be unloaded and trigger locked or zip-tied with the action open and kept pointed down. Capitol police will be on hand, and will act on anything illegal or unsafe.
Will there be shirts, stickers, merchandise, food, raffle tickets or anything else for sale there?
As per Capitol rules, there is nothing allowed to be sold on the Capitol grounds. CCDL does have permission to collect donations for the litigation fund. That’s it. Feel free to bring your own (non-alcoholic) drinks or food, but please take your trash with you when you leave. We want to leave the place cleaner then we found it.
Are there any security concerns because of recent terrorist events?
Yes. Expect Capitol security to be stronger then usual. Suspicious looking bags may be checked by police. Please, use common sense and everything will be fine. Don’t argue with police, or any counter-protesters that might show up. We could have a nice successful 3hr rally with 20,000 people, and if one person gets arrested or in a shouting match with someone, THAT’S what’s going to be all over the news. Don’t be that person.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman will host a community forum in Torrington on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the auditorium of Torrington City Hall (140 Main Street).
These town hall-style events provide an opportunity to discuss the state’s pressing issues face-to-face with state residents. They are open to the public; tickets are not necessary and seats are available on a first come, first served basis.
Those who would like an opportunity to ask a question should arrive a little bit earlier to fill out the sign-up sheet. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.
Note: This is a guest post by CCDL Events Coordinator Chris Duffy
A representative of the Capitol Police called me this morning. We spoke for a good while about our rally on Saturday, and what effects the bombing in Boston will have on us. So read, and then re-read.
- The Capitol police always reserve the right to search bags and packages. If you are carrying what appears to be a heavy bag, or something looks amiss, than be prepared to show the contents of any bags and/or packages.
- I have 8 or so volunteers that will be wearing neon yellow safety vests. They will have a few responsibilities. The first being to watch the border of Bushnell Park, and make sure no one crosses the park boundary line unintentionally. The second, is to watch for people who are carrying something that is now under the banned list (AR’s, FAL’s, Glock 19 with 33 round mags), and to politely tell them to run away as fast as they can.
- The CCDL have a very good history with the Capitol police. They have always been professional. And in usual times, if they see something that is a borderline no-no, they will say something to one of us board members or one of the volunteers. They usually allow us to self police, as to not cause a scene. We can NOT expect any leniency at the rally on Saturday. The bombings have put all police forces on a higher alert status, and as such, we have to expect them to be keeping a very practiced eye on all citizens who enter onto the Capitol grounds.
- Put on your thick skin. I repeat, put on your thick skin. There is always a chance that a/some protester(s) will show up. And rest assured, they are not always nice. The Capitol police will do their best to keep any protesters away from us, since we have a permit to gather and use the grounds. But understand, just two weeks ago, Jon Hardy and I were called baby killers, and told that we had the blood of innocent children on our hands for being gun right supporters. So, put on your thick skin, and ignore them if they show up. Most anti’s are nice, and non confrontational. But do not respond to ANY protester. Just let it go. The news will vilify us if there is even one confrontation. And if someone winds up on the 6 o’clock news for this reason, you will have to deal with me.
- DO NOT CARRY BANNED ITEMS. Should be self explanatory.
- Read this again.
I can’t vouch for how informational this will really be, but if you are in the area it might be interesting. Especially since Len Fasano and Dave Yaccarino both voted YES on SB1160. It wouldn’t surprise me if many CCDL members actually understand the law better then they do.
According to a post on the Hartford Courant’s Capitol Watch blog, Enfield RTC chairwoman Mary Ann Turner will not be attending the state GOP’s annual Bush Dinner and fundraiser in Stamford this year. The reason is the GOP is awarding Senator John McKinney it’s highest honor; the Prescott Bush Sr. Award.
“The man may have done many things in his career that would warrant this accolade,” Mary Ann Turner wrote in a letter to her fellow chairs from north central Connecticut.
“But with the gun bill just passing and his finger printers [embedded] in the cement – I can’t support this total disregard for our constitution and our personal liberties,” she wrote.
“What you do is up to you and your town committee, but this may be the time we finally will get ‘leadership’ to understand, they can’t lead if we won’t follow,” Turner’s letter states. “Enfield is taking that stand.”
You can read the rest of the post here.
Good for her!
My wife and I are somewhat active in state politics, trying to help progun candidates get elected. My wife was recently asked by a high ranking member of the state GOP if we would be attending the dinner this year. Unlike last year, the keynote speaker is someone I’d really like to hear. Someone with solid 2nd Amendment credentials. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. My lovely bride replied almost exactly the same as Mary Ann Turner did, though I think my wife added that we might be there protesting outside, lol. I don’t know if I’ll do that, but I did send Governor Walker a message asking him to reconsider attending. Especially considering Senator McKinney’s vote on SB1160 was in direct opposition to the official Republican Party Platform. On the 2nd Amendment it says in part:
We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be, and we support federal legislation that would expand the exercise of that right by allowing those with state-issued carry permits to carry firearms in any state that issues such permits to its own residents. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend their homes and communities. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners. We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban.
Now, McKinney (along with Larry Cafero and many others) completely went against that, as well as his oath of office with his support of SB1160. How can the Republican Party still honor such a man?
Note: This is a guest post by CCDL Events Coordinator Chris Duffy
For anyone going to the Rally on the 20th (which better be everyone!), please read this post.
First and foremost, DO NOT CARRY IN BUSHNELL PARK! If we get a large crowd, and you are not carrying a gun, please consider standing right behind the Capitol driveway on the grass that is the border between Bushnell Park grounds and the Capitol grounds.
While I know that everyone wants to be able to rub shoulders with me and bask in my greatness, we need to leave the front of the steps open, so please do not fill up this area. We need this so that our speakers can move as needed, as well as a few other reasons. So please leave a 10 foot space in front of the steps, thank you.
I am not a lawyer, so I will not answer whether or not you can carry the firearm you were planning to carry. Talk to the state, talk to your lawyer, and when in doubt, leave it at home. Having an arrest at the Rally would be a terrible situation in the best of times, and downright damaging at this point in time. (editor’s note: The Capitol Police have said they will enforce the new law which prevents carrying so-called “assault weapons” in public)
This is a family friendly Rally. I will have one of my children, and we expect to see many children. This affects them in every way. So please consider not using profanity on any signs. I am not personally a fan of Malloy, and many others. I’m with you on the anger and upsetting offense that we all feel. But please keep it clean.
OPEN CARRY is fine. Well, as long as the firearm adheres to the new draconian laws that no one can figure out. This is not our first Rally at the capitol. The Capitol Police are very professional, and we have never had a problem in the past. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. If it makes you nervous, don’t do it. Remember that the CCDL supports all legal uses of a firearm. I will be open carrying. many will. Some of us open carry in our daily lives. So please refrain from any political strategy talk about open carry on this post.
The CCDL will be taking donations at the Rally. We appreciate every dollar that we have been given so far, and cannot express enough our continued amazement at the support you are all giving.
Lastly, ENJOY YOURSELVES! CARRY ON!
I just want to add one thing to Chris Duffy’s post.
Parking close to the Capitol can be tough. If you can, carpool. Even better get everyone in your gun club to rent a bus.
If it works for you, consider the bus already coming from Torrington.
Here’s a map of parking areas in downtown Hartford. Click on the map for a larger map with more info.