Governor Dannel Malloy’s handpicked commission on Sandy Hook is calling for some of the strongest gun-control measures in the nation, including the banning or possession of any gun that can fire more than 10 bullets without reloading.
The ban would be among the most far-reaching in the United States and comes in direct reaction to the use of a military-style assault rifle and 30-round magazines in the massacre of 20 children and six adult educators three months ago in Newtown.
“This prohibition would extend to military-style firearms as well as handguns,” the commission’s report says. “Law enforcement and military would be exempt from this ban.”
The commission’s chairman, Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, noted in a letter to Malloy that some of the 42 recommendations are controversial.
“I realize that you may agree with some of our interim recommendations and disagree with others,” Jackson wrote in a letter attached to the report.
The commission on Monday released its interim report after multiple hearings on the Newtown shootings, and it involved recommendations on school security, firearm storage, and gun registration.
The report did not mention any recommendations regarding mental health, which will be explored starting at a commission meeting this Friday. Jackson noted that the commission will continue working “through the end of this year” and will react to the state’s attorney’s report that is expected in June.
The report was issued on the day that New York Daily News writer Mike Lupica reported that the shooter, Adam Lanza, had planned the attack for years and had compiled a spreadsheet measuring 7 feet by 4 feet that included details of numerous mass shootings around the world. Lupica said that his anonymous source was a police officer who attended a recent conference in New Orleans in which the top uniformed commander of the Connecticut state police, Colonel Danny Stebbins, delivered a detailed speech about the Newtown massacre.
The report also calls for:
- Mandatory background checks at gun shows and any other place of purchase for all firearms, including so-called long guns.
- Banning the sale, possession and use of any magazines that carry more than 10 bullets. Military and police use would remain legal.
-Banning sale and possession of all armor-piercing bullets, punishable as a Class D felony.
- Mandatory registration of all guns, in addition to a permit to carry.
- Requirement for firearms permits to be renewed, including “a test of firearms handling capacity, as well as an understanding of applicable laws and regulations.”
-Limiting the amount of bullets that can be purchased at one time.
-Study the “best practices” to see the best ways of prohibiting the sale of ammunition through the Internet.
-Mandate that the seller of a gun must also make a trigger lock available to the purchaser.
State Rep. Craig Miner, a pro-gun Republican from Litchfield, had a strong reaction against the proposed ban on the possession of any magazine that could hold more than 10 bullets.
“It seems to me when someone starts to ban something from an individual who bought it lawfully, owned it lawfully and did nothing to lose that right and has to divest themselves of it in some way, it seems to me if it’s not a taking, it’s pretty doggone close,” Miner said.
Miner, who said he doesn’t personally own a 10-round magazine, said it would be highly difficult to collect magazines that were purchased legally and then later declared illegal.
“It blows my mind,” Miner said. “I think we could spend our time doing more important things if you’re trying to have me justify the time it would take to figure out who has them and how many they have and whether they got them all. … We’re going to take them away from people who bought them, cared for them, don’t commit any crimes with them, and turn them loose on a society that’s full of people who do just the opposite. So, you tell me. Is it a good idea?”
Currently, the state has about 1.4 million registered guns, and the state police believe there could be as many as 2 million more that are not registered.
The commissioners stated that they believe in the Second Amendment, but they also believe in the Constitution’s preamble that provides for “domestic tranquility” and the nation’s obligation to “promote the general welfare.”
“All of us in government have engaged in a lengthy debate on the best way to move forward following the horrific events of December 14,” Malloy said Monday in a statement. “The interim report from the commission represents another step in identifying the policies and laws that will make our children and, indeed, our entire state safer. The commission’s recommendations on school safety are especially worthy of consideration this session as we negotiate the biennial budget, and I look forward to working with legislative leaders to implement such measures.
“As I said last week, the deliberations of this commission have mirrored the many conversations that are happening in homes around our state right now.”
“As you know, I have proposed and the General Assembly is considering a set of strong, common sense measures that includes universal background checks, stricter firearm storage requirements, restrictions on the size of magazines, and a total ban on the sale or purchase of many dangerous weapons, including the weapon used in the Sandy Hook massacre. While I do not advocate a retroactive ban on the possession of firearms that are legally owned under current law, there are residents of our state who support such measures, and their views, along with the views of the staunchest defenders of the Second Amendment, have a place in this conversation.
“I believe we can pass meaningful legislation that achieves common sense gun violence prevention measures and that we can do it in a way that many gun owners will agree with.
“I am hopeful that we can come to an agreement soon. Our residents, who by all accounts support many of the proposals that we are considering, have waited long enough.”
At the legislature, Miner had concerns about the proposals.
”I’ve spoken with thousands of gun owners who understand that no matter what they want, in this state especially, given what occurred in Newtown, there will be change,” Miner told Capitol Watch on Monday at the state Capitol. ”In the eyes of some, perhaps non-gun-owners, the significance of whether a gun will shoot 10 rounds or 12 rounds or 15 rounds doesn’t have much meaning – other than they would rather there were none.”
He added, “More and more gun owners are beginning to communicate with me about their interest in trying to help reach a resolution and their total disgust with what seems to be the my-way-or-the-highway approach of others on the other side of the issue.”
“What does 10 rounds mean?” Miner asked. “What does it mean?”
He added, “Depending on how all this is done, I think there are very significant Constitutional issues – both in terms of the state’s Constitution and the federal Constitution. Depending on which, if any, of these broader concepts that remove more rights than others, I think that legal challenges become more likely.”
Currently, there are about 180,000 permit carriers in the state.
“No matter how this shakes out, I suspect hundreds of thousands of innocent people will have lost something in this conversation,” Miner said. “How much they lose, I don’t know.”