The state police have received their first applications from Connecticut residents seeking to register assault weapons under the controversial gun control law that went into effect April 4 — and some people are even bringing in their guns, which isn’t necessary.
Residents have until Jan. 1 to register assault weapons, as defined under the law. But the system is up and running and the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is now processing the requests.
“They’re just trickling in so far,” said Capt. Thomas Garbedian.
Applicants must show proof that they owned the firearms as of April 4, must submit a right thumbprint and must have the form notarized. The don’t need to show up in person, and they certainly don’t need to bring their guns, Garbedian said.
The state police “received a couple of calls up here from the local departments saying people are walking in with guns,” he said.
Local police are not processing the applications, which can be dropped off or mailed to the state police headquarters at 1111 Country Club Rd., Middletown.
The registrations apply to a broad class of firearms that are defined as assault weapons under the law because they have semiautomatic action and at least one military characteristic, typically a pistil grip. The law applies to, among others, the AR-15 type of rifles that are the same platform as the M-16 and M-4 military rifles.
People in the gun industry don’t consider civilian AR-15’s to be assault weapons because they are not fully automatic, meaning they require a pull of the trigger to fire each round. But that’s what they’re called under the law.
Owners of magazines that carry more than 10 rounds must also declare those items by Jan. 1 — which is trickier, since magazines don’t have serial numbers.
But before you get the idea of registering for magazines that you don’t yet own, giving you the ability to bring them into the state in the future, be aware: Falsely claiming to own magazines is a Class A misdemeanor.
The law is being challenged in court by three lawsuits, the latest of which was filed Monday by the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents retailers, manufacturers and gun clubs. The NSSF lawsuit, filed in federal district court, charges that the law was adopted improperly as an emergency certification, not requiring a public hearing, and that it violates the state and federal constitutional rights of gun owners and industry firms.
Separately, the department is receiving thousands of requests for pistol permits. Starting next Oct. 1, anyone seeking to buy ammunition will need a certificate, and starting April 14, anyone seeking to buy a rifle will need a license — but the existing pistol permit allows both of those permits, so that’s what many residents are seeking.
The department is ahead of the schedule promised by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who had said the registration forms would be ready by Aug. 1.