Lawsuit Filed in Connecticut Against “Assault Weapons” Ban

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The Connecticut Civil Defense league has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut looking to block the recently expanded assault weapons ban from going into effect. The suit is based on the recent Heller and McDonald decisions, which held that commonly used firearms cannot be banned and made the Second Amendment an incorporated civil right. Make the jump for the press release . . .

Today, a widely-anticipated lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, challenging the constitutionality of the new firearms law that was passed hastily by the Connecticut legislature in response to the tragic shooting in Newtown by a disturbed individual. The lawsuit seeks immediate injunctive relief and a ruling declaring the new law unconstitutional under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It alleges that Connecticut’s new firearms law is not only unconstitutional but dangerous, since it makes both citizens and law enforcement less safe by depriving citizens of firearms that are in common use throughout the country. The very firearms and design features banned by the new law are commonly used in part because of safety, accuracy and ease-of-use features that make them effective in the hands of citizens who must defend themselves and their families against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey such laws.

Brought on behalf of individual gun owners, retailers, and citizen’s defense and sportsmen’s organizations, the lawsuit seeks to vindicate the constitutional rights of citizens who are harmed by the broad prohibitions and unworkable vagueness of the new law. The legal challenge focuses on Connecticut’s ban of more than 100 additional common firearms that the law now dubs “assault weapons” and on the ban of standard design features, including magazines that hold more than 10 round of ammunition, that provide improved safety, accuracy, and ease-of-use. The lawsuit also challenges the practical bans imposed by the new law on an even broader array of firearms due to the law’s vague language and interpretative confusion combined with severe criminal penalties.

Plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit include individuals such as an elderly widow who lives alone in a rural area where the emergency response time of a lone resident trooper serving the area is 45 minutes, a rabbi whose synagogue in the Bridgeport area has been broken into by intruders, a young professional woman whose efforts to defend herself are made more difficult by the loss of an arm due to cancer, among other individuals.

In addition, retailers whose businesses have been severely harmed by the law have joined the lawsuit, which was conceived and organized by fellow-plaintiff organizations the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, commonly known as CCDL, and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen. Both organizational plaintiffs represent large numbers of Connecticut citizens whose rights to own the firearms of their choice for self-defense and other lawful purposes, such as sports shooting and hunting, have been harmed by the new prohibitions.

Despite the new law being called “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety,” Connecticut’s new firearms law makes Connecticut citizens less safe. Among the individuals harmed by the law’s provisions are women, the elderly, and anyone of a smaller physical stature — individuals who typically lack the strength to operate older style, heavier, or difficult to use firearms and yet who need to be able to protect themselves in challenging home-invasion and other self-defense situations.

CCDL’s President, Scott Wilson, who has seen his organization’s membership grow from 2,500 to 7,600 in just a few months, says “On behalf of our members and all of the plaintiffs, we wish to thank the National Rifle Association, whose vision and stalwart defense of citizens’ fundamental rights has helped make this important legal challenge possible.” Wilson says, “Connecticut’s new gun ban violates Second Amendment rights by depriving law-abiding citizens of firearms that are in common use throughout the country precisely because of their known effectiveness in the protection of citizens, their families, and homes. Criminals and the mentally ill will not abide by this terrible law, which means it has the perverse effect of actually making citizens and law enforcement officers less safe.”

Bob Crook, Executive Director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, says, “This law will do nothing to prevent a tragedy or solve the problem of crime committed with guns. Instead of violating constitutional rights, we need to get serious about addressing violence and mental illness.” He continued, “Two recent independent studies by Pew and the federal government have just revealed that gun homicides are down almost 40% and general crime involving guns has dropped a whopping 70% since 1993, which corresponds with the elimination of the federal assault weapons ban. In contrast, the few areas of the country where gun crimes have increased dramatically are the very places where local or state governments have banned or severely restricted gun ownership by law-abiding citizens.”

Many of the design features now banned by Connecticut’s new law have long been standard in firearms design as they enhance safety, accuracy and ease-of-use, and include: design features that enhance a citizen’s ability to balance a firearm properly so that it can be shot safely and accurately based on the size of the owner – especially if the owner is smaller-sized like many women, the elderly, and youth shooters (retractable shoulder stock); design features that allow a long gun to be held more easily for accuracy and to be held onto by its owner if an attacker tries to take the gun from a victim (pistol grip and forward pistol grip); design features that allow those who are in stressful situations with multiple home-invaders or attackers to have sufficient bullets for meaningful self-defense without impractical situation of having to try to reload or access a second gun (standard magazine capacities over 10 rounds), etc. The specific firearms now banned by the law include some of the most commonly used and popular models in Connecticut and in America today, including the light and versatile AR-15.

Some local retailers supporting the lawsuit say that in addition to the increased dangers created by the law, the law is vague and unworkable. Although they are knowledgeable about various types of firearms, many are having difficulty trying to determine which firearms are banned and which are legal to sell. If they decide incorrectly, they could be facing years in jail. Some say it is difficult for reputable dealers to continue serving the law-abiding citizens of Connecticut under these circumstances. If licensed dealers leave the state, it will become increasingly difficult for the people of Connecticut to acquire firearms to defend themselves. Meanwhile, these retailers say, the criminals will still be armed and in an even stronger position to harm and terrorize the people of Connecticut.

The Connecticut lawsuit, like similar legal challenges in New York, Colorado and Maryland, is expected to better define the limits of a citizen’s right to own a commonly used firearm of personal choice for self-defense, defense of family, and other lawful purposes. Each of these states has enacted new firearms laws that make citizens and law enforcement less safe as they try to defend against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey these laws.

Read the whole suit here.

Read the press release here.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    Good luck. Even in the backwards state of California we can own an AR. It has to be compliant but it can still be bought.

    1. avatar LongBeach says:

      Thank god. Now if only I could rid myself of the infernal bullet button…

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Got 5 minutes?

        1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

          It’s amazing how quickly one of those adjustable bullet buttons can be switched between CA compliance mode and how-the-gun-should-be-run mode. Sometimes all it takes is a single turn of the adjusting screw.

          I never know when mine is going to work loose during a shooting session and start functioning as Stoner intended. I’m sure to fix that as soon as I notice, of course. Because I’m a good citizen.

          Actually, that reminds me that I need to get another adjustable BB for the second lower I’m building this weekend…

    2. avatar CA.Ben says:

      For the moment. If When SB47 and SB374 are approved by the legislature and signed by Brown, we can kiss new compliant AR’s goodbye.

      1. avatar Conway Redding says:

        I fear that here in California we’re as doomed as doomed can be, no matter how many of us call our state representatives and urge them to oppose SB47 and SB 374.

        1. avatar CA.Ben says:

          I was at the Committee for Public Safety hearing. Along with about 80 other pro-rights speakers. We all gave testimony, some more compelling than others. The committee members simply didn’t care. The politicians in Sacramento don’t care about what the people really want, they already know how they are going to vote, and your voice won’t change that.

  2. avatar Pascal says:

    We are fighting with all we got. Collecting funds on pig roast and one meeting at a time. Hope you guys can donate to the CCDL to help in the fight.

  3. avatar A-Rod says:

    I’m popping popcorn to eat while this plays out. Who wants butter on theirs?

  4. avatar Quantum Zen says:

    #corrections CCDL = Connecticut Citizen’s Defense League

  5. avatar Totenglocke says:

    The problem being that the crooked judges in the anti-gun state won’t care about facts and we know that the SCOTUS is too cowardly to take such a big Second Amendment case that would have massive repercussions for all the anti-gun states.

    1. avatar Toasty says:

      Scalia said in January the court has been looking for a case to define the scope of the 2A and said they will be taking one up “very soon”. They have also been reviewing lower level 2A cases instead of just ignoring them outright; they’ve actually read them. But the SCOTUS needs a broad case to define the scope of what is covered under the 2A, these non-sense AWB’s look like just the right thing since they’re banning firearms that are without a doubt “in common use”.

      1. avatar Totenglocke says:

        these non-sense AWB’s look like just the right thing since they’re banning firearms that are without a doubt “in common use”

        That’s not defining anything, that definition has already been made. A case based on that would merely be telling states that they actually have to listen to their ruling.

        There’s an easy broad case that they could do – fighting the constitutionality of the NFA. THAT would actually define new limits.

        1. avatar askeptic says:

          In light of Heller and McDonald, there could also be a challenge to GCA-68.

  6. avatar Anon in CT says:

    Time to write a check.

    1. avatar Steve (CT) says:

      Yup.

  7. avatar Toasty says:

    Based on the ideological composition of the court in question this one is dead in the water, at the district level anyway. The CT district court is STACKED with Clinton, Carter and Obama judges. I can already see their opinion now, they will ignore every single argument made and every single word of Heller and Macdonald except for,

    “The 2nd amendment does not grant the right to carry any weapon whatsoever…”

    and say the Brady Bunch’s line that they can ban whatever they want so long as there’s A gun you can have, aka, as long as its not an outright ban like DC or Chicago. But hey, the more districts this is filed in, the better; makes it move faster to the SCOTUS. But if the SCOTUS finds this garbage constitutional? Then the anti’s can just declare whatever they want dangerous and unusual and goodbye semi-autos entirely. California will def have an approved list of 3 guns, 1 handgun, one rifle and one shotgun loolololl. All .22 breachloaders xD

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      If they did rule for this craptacular bill, wouldn’t it go against their Heller decision?

    2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Yeah, once judges are in, they frequently “disappoint” whoever appointed them.

      Don’t write off the Courts; they are our second-to-last line of defense – our guns being the last line.

      1. avatar dogface says:

        They can’t make a Police State like Germany was unless they confiscate all guns. This is just the beginning of the end. Why do you think that HLS has bought millions of rounds in the last year?

  8. avatar R82997 says:

    THIS is the ONE that gets to the SCOTUS. This is the one that needs your financial support. You don’t need to live in CT to get behind this one, this is the one that will define the 2A for all of us.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      +100

  9. avatar In Memphis says:

    As much as I dont want to look back at my home state, Ill donate what I can come next pay day.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      Thank you for your support! Every little bit will be needed.

  10. avatar labman57 says:

    Just as there are limits to free speech, so too are there limits to a person’s right to buy and own semi-automatic WMDs.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      Is this sarcasm, am I misunderstanding or are you trolling? Free speech is not followed up by, “shall not be infringed.” Also WMDs and explosives are considered ordinance not arms.

      1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

        *ordnance

        (Sorry, my inner spelling/grammar pedant got off the leash for a moment.)

        1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

          On his avatar page it says he is a science educator. If so, he should know better unless it was sarcasm. The facts and statistics do not work in gun control’s favor.

    2. avatar askeptic says:

      Speech limits do not prohibit you from saying anything, they just punish you after the fact.
      The Pentagon Papers case determined that there are no “Prior Restraints” on speech and the press.

    3. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Fine – no semi-auto tactical nuclear shell launchers. Only manually loaded (in 155mm, natually).

      See, we gunophiles can compromise.

      Now in return repeal the NFA.

      K-Thanks-Bai

  11. avatar Cyrano says:

    I believe we should revert cars to crank start again. The key in the ignition makes it too easy to start and run over unsuspecting illegal aliens, children, stray endangered species at the same time commit bank robberies. All citizens should be forced to carry a 8 pound crank to turn over their car engine so as to keep them from going off willy nilly and causing damage. This would allow the lean forward thinking folk to tackle the offender before they could start their car to committ a crime.

    Makes just about as much sense for guns.

  12. avatar Hal says:

    God’s speed.

  13. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    Can anyone with legal expertise weigh in on this please? I’m all for backing any effort to push back against the grabbers, but it this the right case to back? Sure sounds like what we need to clarify the McDonald ruling, but could set a bad precedent if it fails.

    Anyone who knows more about legal issue than I do (which is very little) want to comment?

  14. avatar Lawrence says:

    This suit is interesting because it raises certain issues which I have not previously heard. Regarding magazine restrictions, it makes the argument that woman, the handicapped, the infirm and lesser skilled shooters will be made “Less Safe” while defending their homes because they will be forced to change out magazines rather than just relying on an already loaded 30 round magazine.

    It actually gives an example of a one armed man being unable to change mags quickly.

    Discrimination against the handicapped? Against woman? That may be a strong argument in Federal Court actually ..

    I have not heard this argument previously.

  15. avatar Capt Al says:

    The best of luck with this lawsuite.I personally find it uncontitutional for anyone to tell me what I can or cannot have to protect my family or property that I have worked hard for all my life. I is my hope that this law suite can bring some senisiblity as to why American have armed ourselves. If you don’t feel the need to have a weapon, that is your right. Just don’t tell what my needs are. That is the crux of it.

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