Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance reported last week on the failure of gun owners in the state to register their “assault” weapons, noting that fewer than 50,000 applications had been received from the owners of an estimated 350,000 weapons in the state. And even that number might be too small. In simple terms, gun owners numbering in the thousands — perhaps tens of thousands, maybe totaling 100,000 — have simply ignored the December 31 deadline to register their firearms and thereby add their names to a de facto gun-owner registry.
Politicians — even those who voted against the bill back in April of last year — were surprised. Said state Senator Tony Guglielmo, “I honestly thought from my own standpoint that the vast majority would register. If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.” At a town hall meeting last Thursday night Guglielmo heard from one of his constituents about the new law. Said the senator: “He made the analogy to prohibition. I said, ‘You’re talking about civil disobedience, and he said ‘Yes.’”
Law enforcement officials appeared to be surprised at the invisible underground refusal to register. Mike Lawlor, an undersecretary of Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management, said those who haven’t registered by the deadline will suffer the consequences:
Like anything else, people who violate the law face consequences ... that’s their decision. The consequences are pretty clear.... There’s nothing unique about this.
If a gun owner fails to register a firearm that now falls under the vastly broadened definition of an “assault” weapon, his crime, if convicted, is punishable by a prison term of one to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
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