Opinion: Smart gun laws are saving lives

Suspect Brian Wagshol shown at left. (Ryan Lindsay, Connecticut Public Radio)

Jonathan Perloe is Communications Director of CT Against Gun Violence. This article first appeared on CTMirror.org

Often we hear “criminals don’t follow laws” as the reason for opposing gun laws and “just enforce the laws we have” for not strengthening the laws we have. So here are three recent examples where the existence and enforcement of Connecticut’s strong gun laws very likely saved lives.
Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) prevents possible mass shooting
Just days after the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings, a young man from Norwalk called his aunt in New Hampshire, telling her that he was making an assault rifle and wanted to use her address so he could ship high-capacity magazines to her, since they are illegal in Connecticut.

Knowing her nephew’s troubled history, the woman contacted the Norwalk police. Following an investigation that established a strong presumption that he was at imminent risk of harming people, a judge issued a “risk warrant” allowing law enforcement to remove firearms from the individual’s residence. Police found hundreds of rounds of ammunition, multiple firearms, a hand grenade and four 30-round magazines. The man was charged with four counts of illegal purchase of a high-capacity magazine. Read the full story here.


Gun trafficker sent to prison for seven years
Learning that a former Bridgeport man was advertising his willingness to sell firearms he purchased (illegally) in Georgia, the ATF set up a sting operation. The man was arrested because he was a convicted felon and thus prohibited from possessing firearms.

Earlier this month the man was sentenced to seven years in prison. He admitted to selling at least 30 guns in Bridgeport (most likely, not to “law abiding” gun owners). The case was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program aimed at reducing community violence. Because Georgia has notoriously weak gun laws, it is much easier for prohibited individuals to buy guns there than in Connecticut, further evidence that gun laws work. Read the full story here.


Arrested for leaving an unsecured handgun in a vehicle. 
A Stamford gun owner left an unsecured gun in his unlocked car on the night of September 30 from where it was later stolen. Under the measure that CAGV supporters helped to pass just this year, which came into effect the very next day on October 1, the man was charged with a misdemeanor count of unsafe storage of a gun in a motor vehicle. Read the full story here.

Smart gun laws save lives and our laws are being enforced.


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