It Looks Like Tens of Thousands of Connecticut Residents Are Refusing to Register Their Guns
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It’s looking more and more like Connecticut residents are refusing to register their guns under the state’s restrictive new laws. So far, around 50,000 firearms that are now legally classified as “assault weapons” have been registered in the state ahead of the December 31, 2013 deadline.
However, according to Dan Haar over at The Courant, the numbers of unregistered firearms might be pretty staggering,
That 50,000 figure could be as little as 15 percent of the rifles classified as assault weapons owned by Connecticut residents, according to estimates by people in the industry, including the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. No one has anything close to definitive figures, but the most conservative estimates place the number of unregistered assault weapons well above 50,000, and perhaps as high as 350,000.
And that means as of Jan. 1, Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals — perhaps 100,000 people, almost certainly at least 20,000 — who have broken no other laws. By owning unregistered guns defined as assault weapons, all of them are committing Class D felonies.
“I honestly thought from my own standpoint that the vast majority would register,” said Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, the ranking GOP senator on the legislature’s public safety committee. “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”
It’s pretty clear that Connecticut residents are not complying with the new law at the numbers expected by their lawmakers. Now, the state of Connecticut has to decide their next move. Do they spend an enormous amount of taxpayer money to track down people who might have bought one of the firearms in the past that is now affected by the law? Do they send those people letters? Send law enforcement to their homes to confiscate these guns? Offer an amnesty period to allow people to register their guns without penalty?
The smartest thing to do would be to revisit this draconian gun law and take some real steps to reduce gun violence like community outreach programs to reduce participation in gangs, or offering gun safety courses to law abiding citizens. I’m sure they’ll get right on that.
The impulse to ignore a registration law is probably rooted in the fact that nearly every other country that has instituted some sort of firearms registry has followed that up with some form of confiscation.