Opinion: We don’t need more gun laws that don’t work

Craig Hoffman

With the regularity of Punxatawny Phil emerging from his burrow on Groundhog Day, the state legislature in Hartford has begun a new session with yet more gun control legislation at the top of their “to-do” list. Never mind that Connecticut is near the top of the list with 89 gun-related laws already on the books.

Every time something bad happens, the knee-jerk reaction from certain legislators is to pass yet one more law so that “this will never happen again.” This is a totally unrealistic approach to anything, as a perfect world filled with rainbows, lollipops and unicorns cannot be achieved through legislation.

For example, let’s consider the case of Ryan Gray, a felon who was recently arrested in Waterbury during a surprise inspection of his residence. Gray “was on parole for a variety of crimes, including illegal gun possession. Inside Gray’s bedroom closet, police found a loaded Walther PPK, .380-caliber handgun, along with a loaded Smith & Wesson .357-caliber revolver. Police also found a BB gun in the same closet” according to the Waterbury Republican-American.

At the time of his arrest he was on probation after serving prison time for a previous conviction of criminal gun possession. It’s painfully obvious to most people that the numerous laws already on the books did nothing to prevent his arrest for violating existing gun laws — a second time. Yet, we have legislators who believe that yet another law will fix things like this.

Published articles and TV reports state that one law being considered during this legislative session will address the safe storage of firearms, yet another knee-jerk reaction to the death of young Ethan Song at a friend’s home in Guilford. The State Attorney’s Office investigation reports that the teens located the gun in a cardboard container in a closet; that the gun (and two others) had gun locks on them; that the gun was probably unloaded at the time it was found by the teens; that they located ammunition for the gun; and that mishandling of the firearm caused the death of Ethan.

Also, the “juveniles had gained access to the adult male’s weapons and played with them on several occasions. It appears that the weapons were returned to their original location after each access and there is no evidence that the gun owner knew that the guns had been retrieved by the juveniles.”

From my perspective, the root causes of this death are: a) a failure of parental responsibility to instill respect for other people’s property, and, b) the failure of the teens involved to respect the property rights of others.

However, in spite of all of this information relating to the death of Song, lawmakers – led on by Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, no doubt – will push for some law to further restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners, which may even mandate the purchase of a specific type of container for safe firearm storage from people who have no right to be snooping around in someone’s home to begin with.

And any law that gets passed will further infringe on the ability of the homeowner to be able to defend himself and his property in the event of a home invasion. After all, when an intruder comes through your door and your self defense weapon is inside a locked storage container; has a trigger lock on it; and the ammunition is, by law, stored in a separate locked container, the use of that gun for immediate self defense and protection of your property is totally denied to you.

In the case of Ryan Gray, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s early release program obviously didn’t work, and the multitude of Connecticut gun control laws already on the books didn’t either, as criminals and certain other people do not give one hoot about gun laws. In the case of Ethan Song, no laws on earth can protect those who refuse to abide by the normal rules of society, which include respect for other people’s property. Therefore, any new laws will only add another burden on the large majority of the citizens who are responsible gun owners. The last thing Connecticut needs are more gun control laws that don’t work.


Craig Hoffman lives in Cheshire.  This op-ed originally appeared on CTViewpoints.org.


9 responses to “Opinion: We don’t need more gun laws that don’t work”

  1. Tim

    Well said.
    Many of these gun laws hamper the honest person’s ability to defend themself while having little if any effect on the bad guys. Bad guys will get guns regardless of laws.
    By choice, all my weapons are in a gun safe except the one I may currently be carrying or have available at home. Gun owners should be responsible enough to keep their weapons save from children including teenagers and thieves. Already laws on the books for this.
    Law makers should take a closer look at the mental illness laws in CT. They are very outdated and need to be addressed. This approach will have a far greater effect on limiting who may and may not not possess a gun.
    Finally, do more to keep the guns out of the hands of bad guys. Laws are already on the books. Use them. Adding additional, unenforceable laws is not the answer.

  2. Unarmed

    Security and law enforcement people need guns. You don’t. I’ve lived and worked in dangerous neighborhoods, and never needed a weapon. If I had a weapon, I’d still be no match for an experienced shooter/stabber. Legislation doesn’t help, because people (including you) who want guns will get them. There are so many privately owned guns in the U.S. it’s terrible. America is a violent barbaric country, and you’re part of the problem. I’m glad I don’t live next door to you. Security and law enforcement people need guns. You don’t. I’ve lived and worked in dangerous neighborhoods, and never needed a weapon. If I had a weapon, I’d still be no match for an experienced shooter/stabber.

    Legislation doesn’t help, because people who want guns will get them. There are so many privately owned guns in the U.S. it’s terrible. America is a violent barbaric country, and you’re part of the problem. I’m glad I don’t live next door to you.

  3. Anonymous

    I’d like to see minimum sentencing doubled with no possibility for parole for people caught carrying a gun without a permit and tripled if that gun is used while committing a crime. Obviously murdering someone already carries stricter penalties, but if a criminal knew that if they are caught just carrying a gun that they’re going to spend at least 10 years in prison with no possibility of early parole, they may think twice. I believe it’s 5 years now and they can get out early for good behavior, but I may be wrong.

  4. CT-Patriot

    Let’s Review:

    What does not stop gun violence in Maryland a heavy gun restricted state.

    -Maryland’s assault weapons ban
    -Maryland’s 10-round magazine bill
    -Maryland’s universal background check requirement.
    -Maryland’s law requiring an exhaustive application process to obtain a permit to PURCHASE a handgun.
    -Maryland’s law prohibiting the purchase of more than one firearm per month.
    -Maryland’s law requiring handgun registration
    -Maryland’s law requiring licensing of handgun owners.
    -Maryland’s extremely limited approval of concealed carry permits.
    -Maryland’s refusal to honor any concealed carry permit from another state.
    -Federal law prohibiting handgun possession for people under 21.
    -Laws against carrying without a permit
    -Gun free zones
    -Laws against discharging a firearm in public
    -Laws against attempted murder.

    What DID stop the attack at a school shooting?

    An armed person at the scene who engaged the shooter in less than a minute.

    Any questions why we need more frivolous laws?

  5. Babar S

    Only need one law. No guns, period. What’s the point of having police, law and order if citizens still feel like they need guns. How do most people get illegal guns? They were once legal and got stolen or resold. Same way terrorists in the middle east get American weapons/cars, we send them to “good guys” and the stuff ends up with “bad guys” who kill our own soldiers. Vicious cycle. Big problems need big solutions, not multiple marginal laws that just confuse or do nothing. Any person who thinks their right to own a gun is more important that stopping all the gun related deaths in this country is one hell of a selfish person.

  6. CT-Patriot

    Sorry Babar S:

    Read the constitution and understand what it means pertaining to the 2nd amendment “Shal not be infringed”.

    Do you wish to wait for the police to arrive at your home during a violent crime or have the ability to protect yourself or your loved ones?

    Those of us who follow the law and who own firearms do not wish to ever use them in defense of oneself or a loved one, but knowing that we have the ability to protect ourselves is our right.

    Let me ask, do you own a fire extinguisher at your home? How about smoke detectors?

    Why not just wait for the fire department to arrive?

    Maybe now you can understand if you can prevent a problem from becoming worse….

  7. Babar S

    CT Patriot, very weak arguments.

    Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors didn’t kill little kids in Newtown and many other schools. Guns did. The shooting in Florida had a cop present with a gun who didn’t do anything, so there goes the good guy with a gun arguments as well. No guns is the only real solution. Taser should be good enough for you.

    The day I have to start worrying about violent crimes in my house like that, is the day I move out of the town/state/country, not buy a gun.

  8. Unarmed

    Congress could enact a law authorizing government distribution of loaded guns to all citizens. You go to a local distribution center where they pass them out. Then when you see the crooks coming up to you house or apartment building, you blast away. Same thing at bars and restaurants, shoot them before they shoot you. It’s the American way. At all airports and bus terminals, attendants can hand a pistol to each passenger when they board, to ensure a safe trip. Also at concerts, music festivals and sporting events. Guns For Everyone!

  9. Unarmed

    Maybe you ought not to print that. There are probably people who would take seriously.

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