SOUTHBURY, CT – Today, Governor Lamont announced his gun control priorities for the 2023 legislative session. The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (“CCDL”) agrees that violence, particularly in our cities, is a major problem that must be addressed. However, the Governor’s proposals not only fall short of fixing the issue, but present flawed and misdirected policies that will actually worsen the very urban crime wave the Governor claims to be addressing. 

CCDL has long advocated for early intervention and education. In 2017, CCDL revealed that a 20 year-old law requiring development of a school safety curriculum had never been implemented. That being the case, CCDL advocated that Public Act 19-5 (aka Ethan’s Law) contain language requiring the State Department of Education to finally develop that curriculum for our schools. The curriculum teaches Connecticut youth essential firearm safety including: not to touch firearms, managing peer pressure, and responsible actions around firearms. While CCDL continues its on-going mission for every Connecticut child to have access to this critical information, not one of the public schools in any of the cities run by mayors who surrounded the Governor at today’s press conference has implemented this life-saving curriculum. 

The open carry of firearms has long been lawful, safe, and relatively rare in Connecticut. Most permit holders choose concealed carry, although some choose to open carry . In an awkward attempt to support banning open carry, Attorney General Tong referenced a singular incident from 2016 in which a Black legally-permitted man was stopped by Bridgeport Police when attempting to order lunch, without the police having any suspicion that he committed a crime. Dredging up a 7-year old incident of a law-abiding Black man seeking to exercise his constitutional rights without bothering anyone underscores that the administration is completely out of touch with the real issues of crime plaguing our state today. 

Laws limiting the number of firearm transfers , as proposed today, often have tragic consequences. There are a multitude of reasons why a lawful gun owner may need to transfer numerous firearms at a time. An individual experiencing a mental health episode and seeking to temporarily relinquish possession of several firearms to another trusted individual or to a federal firearms licensee would be prohibited from doing so. A widow or widower may wish for their spouse’s firearms to go to a permitted adult child who may be better able to secure them. There are scores of reasons that simultaneous lawful transfers are necessary. Straw purchases are already illegal at both the state level and federal level. In the last legislative session, the Commission on Community Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention was created, yet it does not include a single seat for a representative of gun owners in this state. If the Governor was serious about finding real solutions to the state’s violent crime spike, he would invite us to the table. His continued failure to do so is telling. 

In 2019, Connecticut enacted a “ghost gun” law. Under Connecticut law, it is already illegal to transfer a home-made firearm to another individual. Yet nobody at today’s press conference mentioned that the majority of offenders in possession of these guns are already prohibited persons, and that their possession of a “ghost gun” is already unlawful and felonious. Gun charges are often reduced or altogether dismissed in plea deals with violent criminals. Instead of looking to the legislature to pass more duplicative laws which primarily attack law abiding citizens, the Governor should look to our courts to prosecute violent crimes to the full extent of the law, and to keep violent offenders off our streets. 

Connecticut residents are understandably worried about urban violence in our state. However, the posturing displayed today makes it abundantly clear that Governor Lamont has no plan to stem the surge of violent crime in Connecticut.

For further information, contact Holly Sullivan, (860) 785-5322

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