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.