Connecticut Gun Control and the Big Lie About Spree Killing

 Adam Lanza (courtesy  PBS/Frontline)

A ninth grader from Arizona called me yesterday for a school paper on gun control. “What new laws would you pass to prevent spree killing?” he asked. None, I answered. You can’t legislate away crazy. Not to mention the 500-pound amphetamine-crazed gorilla in the room: terrorists. (Cough Fort Hood cough.) While “lone wolf” spree killers like Jared Loughner, James Holmes and (finally) Adam Lanza inspired the current push for civilian disarmament, odds are this country will eventually face a Beslan-style terrorist attack. Whether it’s at a school, shopping mall, state house or whatever, when that s hits the f, the time for laws will be long past. I repeat: no law is going to prevent spree killing. Not that the New York Times wants to face that fact . . .

The gun lobby’s basic position is that the package [of gun laws about to be passed in Connecticut] would not have prevented the Newtown massacre. But it might have, if one of its provisions had been law: current state law requires secure firearms storage in households with anyone under 16; the bill extends that to households where the gun owner knows that someone living there poses a risk of imminent injury to himself or others. By significantly limiting access to the most dangerous firearms and ammunition, the package will not only contribute to public safety in Connecticut but will provide a laudable example to Congress and other states of what can be achieved with a serious bipartisan effort.

It must be said: you’ve got to be shitting me. Adam Lanza shot his mother in the head four times and stole her guns. Besides, as the Times’ editorial writer points out, the Constitution State already has safe storage laws. To wit:

The law imposes criminal penalties on people who store loaded firearms on their premises if they know or reasonably should know that a minor (person under age 16) is likely to gain access to them without the minor’s parent’s or guardian’s permission (CGS § 29-37i). A person is not criminally liable if the firearm is locked up or in a location that a reasonable person considers to be secure, or carries it on his or her person or close enough so that he or she can readily retrieve it.

A person is criminally negligent if the violation of these provisions results in a minor using the firearm to injure or kill himself or someone else (CGS § 53a-217a). A violator is strictly liable for damages if a minor obtains the unlawfully stored firearm and causes the injury or death of anyone (CGS § 52-571g). The provisions do not apply if the minor obtains the firearm by unlawful entry.

I guess Mrs. Lanza dodged that bullet. Or not. Are four head shots considered “unlawful entry”? More to the point, what changes in Connecticut’s new law will prevent that kind of action? Here’s the proposed change:

(a) A person is guilty of criminally negligent storage of a firearm when [he] such person violates the provisions of section 29-37i, as amended by this act, and a minor or, a resident of the premises who is ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law or who poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to other individuals, obtains the firearm and causes the injury or death of[himself] such minor, resident or any other person. For the purposes of this section, “minor” means any person under the age of sixteen years.

Yeah that’ll stop ’em!

Truth be told, Connecticut politicians are about to violate their residents’ Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms and make their state less safe by disarming the very people who can—and I believe should—protect innocent life from determined killers. Homicidal maniacs who couldn’t give a shit about gun laws. Never have. And never will.