More than 3,000 gun rights activists rallied on the lawn of the Connecticut state Capitol Saturday to protest the one-year anniversary of the state’s stringent gun control laws, passed in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.
Organized by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, the rally lasted from noon to 2 p.m. and featured political candidates, 2nd Amendment rights supporters and attorneys as speakers.
The government of Connecticut is on course for a showdown of sorts with gun owners because tens of thousands of the state’s gun owners have defied the new gun laws that effectively banned 100 types of semi-automatic weapons.
Citizens possessing those types of weapons were supposed to submit their personal information to a state registry by December 31, 2013 in order to keep them. The majority of gun owners decided to engage in civil disobedience, instead. The Courant estimated that as many as 100,000 gun owners with 350,000 unregistered weapons did not come forward to register their weapons.
Furthermore, estimates concerning banned magazines holding more than ten rounds — which have no serial numbers and are impossible to track unless registered — show that only 36,932 have been entered into the state’s databases, while over two million remain on the market.
Michael Lawlor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s criminal justice advisor, said back in December that fewer people than expected had registered weapons under the new law.
Lawlor warned, “gun owners should take seriously the consequences of ignoring the law. Disregarding the registration requirements can carry felony charges in some cases, which can make Connecticut residents ineligible to own guns.”
First-time offenders who can prove they owned the weapon before the law passed, and have otherwise followed the law, may be charged with a class A misdemeanor. In other cases, possessing one of the newly-banned guns will be considered a felony that carries with it a sentence of at least a year in prison.“If you haven’t declared it or registered it and you get caught . . . you’ll be a felon. People who disregard the law are, among other things, jeopardizing their right to own firearms. If you’re not a law-abiding citizen, you’re not a law-abiding citizen,” Lawlor said
By mid February, Lawlor had backed down somewhat, saying that the state “will not yet aggressively pursue unregistered gun owners — even sending out a reminder letter could spark tensions between gun owners and officials.”
He suggested the now familiar tack of “extending the deadline” and holding an “outreach campaign” to encourage submissions – (on the taxpayer dime no doubt.)
Lawlor might consider using the wildly successful “brosurance” ads as a template.
Semi-automatic weapons are crazy! But not registering your semi automatic weapons is crazier! Don’t *tap* into your beer money to pay your legal bills! #GetRegistered
That might win over the conservative, pro-gun crowd. Or not.