The dust is far from settled in Connecticut following a long Monday hearing at the state capital in Hartford, where parties reportedly clashed over Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont’s “wide ranging” gun control agenda “to restrict the purchase and use of guns.”
Adding to the drama, the Hartford Courant is reporting that state Attorney General William Tong has filed a lawsuit against four out-of-state companies for allegedly shipping parts for so-called “ghost guns” to the state, violating a ban adopted in October 2019. Connecticut is one of a handful of states where such firearms are banned or restricted, the newspaper said. There is also a ban in the District of Columbia.
Meanwhile, the hearing on Gov. Lamont’s gun control package lasted a grueling seven hours, the newspaper said. Early coverage of the lengthy hearing Monday was more about disagreements between citizens supporting or opposing the gun control package.
So ambitious is the governor’s wish list for gun control that he had to introduce it in three phases back in January.
The first package was introduced Jan. 23 as a plan to “reduce gun violence.” It included the following tenets:
- Investing an additional $2.5 million in community violence intervention programs;
- Banning the open carrying of firearms in public, while continuing to allow concealed carry with a permit except in particular locations;
- Limiting handgun purchases to one per month to discourage straw purchases; and
- Updating the state’s ban on unregistered “ghost guns” to stop their illegal flow.
Lamont’s second package was unveiled three days later, on Jan. 26. According to his office, this segment of the gun control scheme included:
- Closing loopholes in the state’s assault weapons ban;
- Strengthening penalties related to the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines to make that ban enforceable; and
- Increasing the age to purchase all firearms to 21.
His third set of proposals was announced Feb. 1. The list included:
- Requiring a ten-day waiting period before purchasing a firearm;
- Increasing education requirements for firearm licenses;
- Requiring safe storage regardless of who lives at a given residence;
- Improving the design safety standards for semiautomatic handguns;
- Making commission of a family violence crime or being a fugitive an automatic disqualifier for holding a pistol permit;
- Prohibiting the carrying of any loaded long gun in a vehicle; and
- Requiring trigger locks for all firearm purchases.
Speaking before the Judiciary Committee, Jeremy Stein, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, asserted that an estimated 380,000 firearms are stolen annually nationwide. He reportedly cited a study which estimated 46 percent of gun owners across the country do not store their firearms properly. The newspaper said he supports Lamont’s proposal to limit gun purchases to one per month.
Hyde Herman, who is on the Voluntown Republican Town Committee (RTC) opposed Lamont’s plan. He noted state police response time to calls in rural parts of the state which sometimes stretches to 15 minutes, the newspaper said.