Last fall, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy invited the public to chime in on state regulations that are “outdated, unnecessarily burdensome, insufficient or ineffective.” More than 2,000 comments came in to a special website.
And what was on people’s minds?
Guns. Specifically, handguns in state parks and forests.
In fact, more than three-fourths of the comments – roughly 1,600 – made a nearly identical request: “Please modify the State Agencies Regulations to allow individuals with valid Permits to Carry Pistols and Revolvers to carry a handgun for self defense while in CT State Parks and Forests.”
Handguns are permitted in state parks and forests only for hunting small game or participating in certain other authorized activities, such as hunter education classes or practicing at a firearms range. But guns solely for self-defense are prohibited.
The push to broaden the rules on guns in parks and forests was part of a campaign coordinated by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, which explains the volume of identical submissions. But many proponents also added personal appeals.
“As a mother and a woman, being able to protect my children is my first priority,” wrote Andrea
McClanaghan of Torrington. “Being able to protect myself falls in line with protecting my children. Whether it be from a dangerous/injured animal, or someone who wishes to do them or me harm.”
Jim Gagosz of Wethersfield said that in the last several years while hiking and fishing in state parks, he has been tracked by a feral dog the size of a wolf (until it was chased off by three coyotes), and had encounters with a black bear and her cub, a rabid raccoon, a bobcat and a fisher cat.
“My only options for self defense in these situations was woefully inadequate,” he wrote. “I and or someone else could have been seriously hurt or worse.”
Added Justin Williams of Naugatuck: “I purposely do not use the state parks and forest because I cannot protect my self or my family. 4 legged creatures can be just as dangerous as 2 legged.”
Beyond the gun rule, other suggestions ran the gamut, including eliminating the Business Entity Tax and various annual registration fees for business and non-profits, lowering the drinking age, shrinking the automobile emissions program, permitting online boater-education courses, doing away with front license plates and reducing the number of bathtubs required in nursing homes.
Audrey Battista wondered if Connecticut could end the requirement that air passengers remove their shoes during screenings “because a terrorist once had an explosive in his and was discovered before it did any damage. Terrorists do not use any old plans that were unsuccessful! And pat downs should go, too!”
Paul Passarelli, who described himself as a Libertarian from Norwalk, suggested ranking all state regulations by cost, and eliminating them one-by-one until the remaining rules can be enforced without the need for the income tax, sales tax, gas tax and excise taxes. “If that means that **all** the regulations are struck from the books, then you’ll have an idea of where we should be. Less Government. More Freedom.”
And – being the web – spammers got in on the act, too. “Chanel Handbags for sale” wrote in to tell the governor: “Clutches are a type of purses which are mostly used in evening parties or any dressy events.”
In a statement, the governor’s office said Malloy intends to use the comments “as a guide as he seeks to streamline state regulations across the board” during the upcoming legislative session, which begins Wednesday.
Click here to view the 1,240 pages of suggestions. (Warning: large file)