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Is the Gun Legislation "Supercommittee" a Good Idea or Too Much Kumbaya?

by: abg22

Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:57:19 PM EST

( - promoted by ctblogger)

The package of gun safety reforms that the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (which represents both heavily Democratic big cities and rural, Republican towns) released earlier this week is likely to be at the core of whatever the bipartisan "Supercommittee" that has been appointed by the legislature to look at new gun safety legislation comes up with. The idea seems to be for this consensus package to be fast-tracked through the legislature; legislative leaders know that after Newtown "the eyes of the country are on Connecticut" (as House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said when he opened the session), and they want the symbolism of a bipartisan vote. More aggressive gun control measures (that go beyond the consensus package, e.g. Senator Ed Meyer's suggestion to ban magazine clips altogether) may still be possible, but will have to go through the normal legislative process, and probably will not be voted on until the end of the session. Is this a good strategy by Sharkey, Looney and Williams, or a misguided attempt at achieving a kumbaya moment that the not-your-father's GOP will never accept? Will Republicans do the right thing, or will they take their cues from Martha "I'm Just Asking Questions" Dean and attempt to obstruct or dilute meaningful reform? Only time will tell.

Here is the full CCM list of proposals:

There's more below the fold.

abg22 :: Is the Gun Legislation "Supercommittee" a Good Idea or Too Much Kumbaya?

CCM State Legislative Initiatives to Reduce Gun Violence

January 16, 2013

The CCM membership recognizes that the reduction of gun violence in our country requires a federal-state-local partnership that addresses firearm regulation, mental health, and school security issues. CCM supports the enactment of a new, comprehensive, federal ban on assault weapons. In addition, CCM supports the following state legislative initiatives to reduce gun violence that, at the same time, respect the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United State Constitution.

1. Expand the state definition of an assault weapon to conform to current California law, which includes limiting the magazine capacity of rifles and handguns to no more than 10 bullets.

(Current state law lists approximately 57 specific firearms as an assault weapon. Additionally, any semi-automatic firearm not listed but meets particular criteria (attachment 2) is also considered an assault weapon. Current state law does not restrict magazine capacity.)

2. Require a rifle permit for the purchase of any long gun, unless the owner is already in possession of an up-to-date handgun permit. A hunting license will no longer allow the background check and waiting period to be waived.
(Current state law only requires a permit for handguns. To purchase a long gun, only a 14-day waiting period is required for a background check. If an individual has a pistol permit or hunting license, the background check and waiting period are waived.)

3. Allow municipal CEOs to designate a Chief of Police, Resident State Trooper, or the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners as the issuing authority for firearm permits.
(Current state law specifically lists the chief of police, or, where there is no chief of police, the warden of the borough or the first selectman of the town as the issuing authority for pistol permits.)

4. Allow municipal CEOs that deny permit applications, but such applications are subsequently overturned by the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, the ability to appeal said decisions before the Superior Court. Permit applicants are already afforded such appeal rights.
(Current state law does not allow local officials to appeal a Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners decision.)

5. Consider expanding the list of offenses that would prohibit an individual from obtaining a firearm permit.
(CGS §29-28 (attachment 3) specifically lists the requirements and offenses that prohibit an individual from obtaining a firearm permit.)

6. Improve the enforcement of existing state law:
a. Require registration of all firearms (exempt antique firearms as defined in statute) and allow individuals a one-year, no-fee, grace period to complete such registration;
b. Require the State to utilize existing firearm registration data by providing electronic access to a registered firearms database. Such database would be available to law enforcement only;
c. Increase the capacity of the Connecticut State Forensics Laboratory to provide timely processing of firearm and ballistic data to local officials. (It can now take 6-8 months to get this information); and
d. Create a statewide Gun Offender Registry that would require individuals convicted of gun crimes to register with the State every six months (or when they change address) for a duration of five years. Registering will be required at the time of conviction, or after their jail sentence has been served. Registry would be available to law enforcement only.
(Current state law requires all firearm sales to be recorded and a copy be sent to DESPP and local law enforcement. Connecticut does not maintain a Gun Offender Registry.)

7. No firearm permit shall be issued if:
a. An individual has a serious mental disorder or illness that has been diagnosed, or determined in a court proceeding;
b. A mental health facility or licensed psychotherapists has reported, as they would now be required, to local law enforcement, DESPP and DMHAS any individual that has been determined to be a danger to themselves or others, or communicates a serious threat of physical violence against others; and
c. They have ever been confined in a psychiatric hospital by the probate court or found not guilty of a crime by reason of a mental disease, unless a licensed mental health official affirms that they are now mentally fit.
(Current state law requires DMHAS to report data on an individual that has been confined to a psychiatric hospital by the Probate Court within the 12 months preceding the request for a permit, or an individual discharged from custody in the proceeding 20 years after a finding of not guilty of a crime by reason of a mental illness.)

8. Require an updated background check to be completed on all firearm permit renewals.
(Current state law does not require an updated background check to be completed.)

9. Require a firearm permit for the purchase of ammunition.
(Current state law does not regulate who may purchase ammunition.)

10. Regulate online purchase and delivery of ammunition by banning the use of rights-of-way for the transportation of ammunition.
(Current state law does not regulate online sale or home delivery of ammunition.)

11. Prohibit individuals from purchasing more than one weapon within a 30-day period. Thus eliminating bulk purchases of firearms, as recommended by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
(Current state law does not limit the amount of firearms an individual may purchase.)

12. Require gun/trigger locks to be provided with each firearm purchased.
(Current state law does not require gun/trigger locks to be provided with each firearm purchase.)

13. Outlaw the possession and purchasing of body armor (exempt law enforcement and active military), defined in Connecticut law as being any material designed to be worn on the body and to provide bullet penetration resistance.
(Current state law restricts the sale and possession of body armor for anyone convicted of specific felonies or serious juvenile offenses.)

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