Panic in the belly of the beast

Hartford Courant demands that tens of thousands of gun owners be arrested and imprisoned for failing to comply with the new gun laws that, as noted here, made criminals out of law abiding citizens wit one stroke of Dan Malloy’s pen.

Note this:

Widespread noncompliance with this major element of a law that was seen as a speedy and hopefully effective response by Connecticut to mass shootings such as the one at Sandy Hook creates a headache for the state.

So the law constituted a “speedy” response to mass shootings, nothing more – “hopefully effective” is an admission that the pols wanted to do something, regardless of whether it would accomplish anything.

And how will this registration of scary-looking guns prevent another shooting? It won’t of course, but here’s the real point, as noted by the Courant:

[O]wning an unregistered assault weapon is a Class D felony. Felonies cannot go unenforced.

A Class D felony calls for a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Even much lesser penalties or probation would mar a heretofore clean record and could adversely affect, say, the ability to have a pistol permit.

And that’s what this is all about: the move to confiscate all guns, pistols, shotguns and yes, scary guns. Seek treatment for depression? No more guns for you! Buy a box of .22 cartridges without a permit? Same result. Every owner of a properly registered modern handgun has been made a criminal now because those guns’ magazines hold more than ten cartridges. The Courant wants the state police to comb the records of all such gun purchases and arrest anyone who’s failed to register, not the gun – that was already done, but the standard magazines it came with. Bust an owner for one such failure and you’ve taken away all his guns, for life.

All of which has the gangs in Hartford and Bridgeport quaking in their Air Jordans, I’m sure.


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19 responses to “Panic in the belly of the beast

  1. Al Dente

    Are they going to kick down doors and tear walls down looking for hidden guns? Achtung! The Gestapo is coming!

    • Libertarian Advocate

      No it’s more likely the SA under the command of Michael Lawlor, Dan Malloy’s very own copy of Ernst Rohm.

  2. Own a standard capacity magazine? 5 years and $5000.

    Steal a Billion (1,000,000,000) dollars from your clients? Not even a wristslap.

    • Libertarian Advocate

      If you’re referring to Jon Corzine, he bought himself a permanent immunity idol because he was likely wise enough to document all of the crimes of his political class cohorts in multiple copies, each stashed away in a nice safe location for later release by his lawyers should any effort at prosecution or Jimmy Hoffa style banishment ever occur.

  3. Libertarian Advocate

    I’m betting Malloy and crew just wish the whole mess would go away. It makes for really bad optics when police start kicking down doors at 3:00 AM. Wait till they raid the wrong house and blow away a 65 year-old grandma.

    Oh yeah, one other thing: Felonies go unenforced all the time in Connecticut. WTF do the Courant’s writers think plea-bargains result in?

  4. FlyAngler

    The Courant writers don’t know what they don’t know (ht to Rummie). For example, they suggest the police use prior purchase records (the state keeps all FFL transaction approvals for 20 years) and cross-reference against the 12/31/2013 registrations and declarations. From the mis-match list, they would like to see the police start approaching gun owners about this and lock up those who failed to register/declare. What’s wrong with that? Consider the following:

    LEO at citizen’s door: “Mr. Citizen, our records show that in 2007, you purchased a Colt Match Target 5.56 assault weapon that you failed to register by 12/31/2013. We believe you are in violation of Public Act No. 13-3 which required registration of that weapon. May we see the weapon?”

    Citizen: “Well, no, you may not.”

    LEO: “Sir, are you failing to cooperate with us?”

    Citizen: “No, I sold that rifle three years ago and no longer own it.”

    LEO: “Well, our records do not reflect that. Do you have an explanation as to why?”

    Citizen: “It was sold in a private market transaction for which there was no reporting requirement.”

    LEO: “Uh, oh, well, can you prove that?”

    Citizen: “No, I can not prove beyond my word that I no longer own that firearm. Can you prove that I still own it? Do you have a search warrant? Are we done here?”

    LEO: “Uh, well, no, I do not have a search warrant. This was a friendly check to confirm our records and your compliance with PA13-3. I guess we are done. Have a nice day.”

    That’s it, assuming that no judge in his right mind would have issued a search warrant in advance on just the possibility that there is a mismatch in the states records. Whether the citizen actually sold that firearm or not is a moot point, there was no requirement to register any private market transactions prior to 4/4/2013. Thus, the burden of proof is on the state to prove otherwise and, unless they find you in physical possession of the weapon without a search warrant, that’s where this process ends.

    In the above scenario, you can substitute magazines for rifles and the same result ensues.

    The Courant’s editorial team seem to be ignorant to the fact that old state records regarding FLL transactions are no guarantee that the weapon is still owned by the original buyer. They also seem to be unaware that there are all sort of legal ways for a person in possession of a particular firearm to no longer be in possession of that firearm in the state of Connecticut. Beyond the private market transaction, other transactions that would not require the involvement of a FFL and a state record of the transfer are private gift, move out of state, destruction,

    Question for FWIW reader GPD Folk, would a judge issue a warrant simple based on a years-old FFL transaction and the lack of a matching registration/declaration by 12/31/2013?

    • The trouble as I see it is if you used that weapon to defend yourself you’d lose your gun rights thereafter. Alive, but now defenseless.

      • FlyAngler

        Well, that is the problem, is it not. There is going undocumented and then there is going undocumented and being forced to use that undocumented item in a public way. I am not sure how many of the non-compliant considered that. Actually, even taking an undocumented firearm or mag off of your private property poses a risk of discovery.

        I was a Boy Scout on this and registered/declared EVERYTHING that I had that was applicable.

    • Libertarian Advocate

      Great analysis, but it’s even more complex than that. It appears that the numbers the state relies on are based at least in part on a report from the OLR now already a few years stale that “estimated” the number of rifles and magazines they believed to be present in the state. I suspect that those numbers in fact wildly overstated the true numbers.

      Also, in the last few weeks of before the registration window closed, the state did finally begin to advertise the looming deadline and stated plainly that one pre-deadline option for disposition was to remove one’s offending property from the state. I quite suspect that a great many people did exactly that.

      I personally registered four firearms – all of which the state has a purchase record for in the form of the DPS-3-C form filed with the state, municipal or town PD, with a copy each retained by the transferor and transferee as well. Two of those firearms are .22 Long Rifle semi-automatic pistols with threaded barrels that can accept a “silencer” – more commonly called a suppressor and more colloquially as “a can.” I do not own a can as they require a $200.00 federal tax stamp just to purchase and the fee seems to be hardly worth the expense for a device that reduces the decibel level of a .22LR report by at most 30% and would likely cost more than the pistol itself without including the cost of the tax stamp.

      Cosa Nostra “hitmen” might not be similarly dissuaded by the expense of a suppressor purchase, but it’s highly likely they wouldn’t trouble themselves with the legal formalities of acquiring a one. One can only imagine that such an item would be a one-time use only purchase, so why bother with the hassle of the tax stamp?

    • GPD Folk

      Fly Angler…a search warrant can only be issued based on articulable facts. I don’t believe a judge would sign such a warrant

  5. FlyAngler

    LibAdv – Seems like we should go put holes in some paper one of these days. We can invite CF along to a little club I know….

    I studied the April 2011 OLR report at length and would like to point out a few things. The report was requested when the Legislature was considering a ban on 10+ round magazines as a stand-alone effort promoted by CAGV. The report was supposed to quantify the “magnitude of the issue” for lawmakers and I am not sure what effect it had but that bill died at some point (in committee or did it come to a vote?). The OLR used some estimates provided by the NSSF as well as NICS data to come up with their “conclusions”: 372,000 rifles and 250,000 pistols capable of using 10+ round magazines. The report suggested there could be millions of such magazines already in the state with most people taking away 2.1-2.4mm as a working figure. Given the April publication date of the report, it would be fair to assume that all data used was as of YE2010.

    I can see how you could think those total were “wildly inflated” at that time. I thought so as well when I considered that when the original CT AW ban was put into place in 1994, less than 9,000 weapons were registered. With the expiration of the concurrent federal AWB in 2004, that would suggest that CT residents bought over 350,000 10+ round mag-fed rifles from 2004 to 2010. That seems awfully steep.

    HOWEVER, one has to think about what the rate of firearm purchase was over the years. NICS was instituted in late 1998 so we have full-year data from 1999 through 2013 and they are as follows:

    1999 87,209
    2000 87,586
    2001 89,689
    2002 93,598
    2003 100,567
    2004 100,916
    2005 97,599
    2006 97,616
    2007 116,112
    2008 155,885
    2009 202,454
    2010 179,595
    2011 186,068
    2012 237,496
    2013 294,338
    Total 2,039,519

    One can do quite a bit with this stream of numbers like looking at the trends, the spikes and the growth rates and compare them to events, political and otherwise. One thing I can tell you is that this growth rate from 1999 blows away the growth rate of the eligible gun buyer growth rate in CT – CT is arming itself at increasing rates and has been for years. Oh, as you likely know LA, multiple firearms can be bought under a single NICS check and not all NICS checks result in a sale. For simplicity’s sake, I will assume one firearm per check.

    One can make many assumptions about the nature of the firearms behind these checks and I like to assume that 40% of the firearms involved are capable of handling 10+ round magazines, both AR/AK style rifles and double-stack pistols. The 1999-2010 total above is 1.4mm checks and 40% is 563,530 possible 10+ round firearms and not too far off the OLR’s April 2010 estimate. Yes, my 40% assumption could be high but we are not including all pre-1999 purchases through FFLs and ALL private market transactions over ALL of those years. If one assumes four (4) 10+ round mags per firearm capable of using them, that implies 2.25mm 10+ round mags, very much inline with the OLR estimate. The state reported 40,000 mag declarations and even at 20 rounds per declaration form, 800,000 mags is a fractions of 2mm+ mag potential. (BTW, I own more than 4 per barrel as do many others).

    Also, if half of that 40% or 20% are rifles, that is 281,765 which is about 100,000 short of the OLR’s estimate but significantly higher than 50,000 registered in 2013.

    But here is where it gets REALLY interesting, what happened over 2011, 2012 and 2013 that would impact the number of AWs and mags? The total NICS checks in CT over those years was 717,902 and 40% of that number is 287,160 additional (potential) weapons that can handle 10+ round mags. That’s an additional 1mm mags at 4 per barrel.

    Now, I could argue that the development of handguns and rifles and consumer interest suggests more modern sporting rifles and double-stack mags bought as a % of total over that time period but let’s leave it at that. Then 20% of 717,902 is 143,804 AR/AK style rifles bought over those three years, again, nearly 3X the number registered last year.

    So LA, unless a SIGNIFICANT number of these items were moved out of state, sold, destroyed or surrendered, there is a MAJOR numerical gap here. Yes, we can reduce my estimates above but even cutting them in half shows a major gap.

    Regarding “cans”, it is interesting that the NFA did not think of making the tax stamp fee track inflation. That $200 fee back in 1934 was equivalent to 10% of the average annual income back then (Depression years). Today, adjusted for CPI, that $200 would be $3,500 and represent 7% of income. Today, $200 represents 0.4% of current average income (might be median however).

    • Libertarian Advocate

      Flyangler: A number of the CCDL guys went to the committee hearing on the original CAGV effort to push through a cap on magazine capacity to 10 rounds. At the time it died in Committee. CCDL has been at the forefront of this fight for quite a while now. I hope you’ve signed up as a member. I know I tried to BROWBEAT our host into doing it as well, he promised he would but last he told me, he still had not. I believe membership is now at over 12K in CT and it would be great to put it at over 20K which would surely shiver the timbers of ALL of CT’s useless politicians.

    • Libertarian Advocate

      My filings hit DESPP in very late December, or so says the RRR receipt I got back from them. I sent ONE envelope with 4 registrations and one LCM declaration form containing multiple magazine declarations. I submit that it is likely that DESPP has yet to even open my envelope, but I could be wrong. I’m betting that I am not the only one to include all my registrations in one envelope, although I could have been a jerk and done five mailings instead of one. I hear they daily received THOUSANDS of envelopes in the last weeks of the period. For them to extrapolate one registration per piece of mail received would be a very faulty assumption. Time will tell what the real numbers are. I still don’t have my certs back and don’t expect them until at least the end of March.

      • prosperityfollowsdynamite

        You are correct in your assumptions. I sent ONE envelope mid-December as well, but it was almost a half an inch thick. I received my RRR seven days later but still have not gotten my certificates back. When I called them last week to ask about the expected timeframe, the guy who answered the phone was pleasant but he just chuckled. He said that he was looking at “boxes and boxes and boxes” of envelopes waiting to be opened. I anticipate a long wait.

  6. AAAnon

    Firearms and magazines have been moved out of State for safe keeping. You are going to get screwed even if caught with legal weapons – reference what happended to Joe Callahan in Fairfield.