NRA-ILA: “The Rule of Law is in Tatters in the ‘Constitution State'”

Make the jump for the best press release I’ve ever read by the NRA. Clearly, America’s oldest civil rights organization is kicking things up a notch, responding to events more quickly and amping up the rhetoric without falling prey to Chicken Little pronouncements. That’s a good thing, but a bad sign . . .

“On April 4, 2013, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy (D) signed Senate Bill 1160 into law, unleashing one of the most draconian gun control laws in the nation on his constituents.  Among other things, the 140-page law bans large classes of firearms and magazines that had been obtained lawfully by tens of thousands of Connecticut residents.  Limited grandfather provisions apply to those who registered otherwise banned items before January 1, 2014.  Others in possession could face felony penalties for violations.  President Obama himself was in Connecticut four days after this bill became law, praising it as a model for the nation . . .

“Throughout the Connecticut lawmakers’ efforts to attack law-abiding gun owners, your NRA has been actively involved in fighting to vindicate the Second Amendment rights of Connecticut’s citizens.  Shortly before the bill was rammed through the state legislature with no opportunity for public debate or even for adequate committee review, the NRA helped organize a huge lobby day protest rally in conjunction with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen.  Thousands turned out peacefully to protest the proposed legislation and the incursions on their rights that would undoubtedly result from it.

“NRA is currently backing a lawsuit, Shew v. Malloy, to challenge the constitutionality of several provisions of the law, including its expanded bans on semi-automatic firearms and its restrictions on magazine capacity.  Some have wondered why NRA has not appeared as a named plaintiff in the suit.  Simply put, experience has often shown that NRA is more effective in lending its expertise and resources, rather than its name, to litigation.  Many within the legal elite have been slow to embrace the fundamental, individual rights protected by the Second Amendment, and getting a fair hearing on these matters is difficult enough.  When NRA participates in a legal case as a plaintiff, its involvement attracts a traveling media circus eager to criticize and attempt to discredit whatever it does.  This can further inhibit courts from giving the merits of the case a thorough and impartial hearing.  Unlike some groups who will eagerly tout their participation in any “gun rights” case, no matter how ill-advised or unlikely to succeed, NRA is more interested in advancing our Second Amendment freedoms through litigation, rather than just using lawsuits for publicity or fundraising purposes.

“In any event, a federal district court judge has, for now, upheld the contested provisions of the law.  An appeal is already underway.  The court’s ruling, while unfavorable on the law, contained important factual findings, including that the newly-banned firearms and magazines are, in fact, commonly owned and legally used nationwide, including in Connecticut.  These findings could well make a difference as the case makes its way through the appeals process.  While relief through the court system is at best a long and incremental process, the effort continues with NRA’s full support.

“Meanwhile, reality is setting in for Connecticut lawmakers and enforcement officials, who now must deal with the effects the new law is having on ordinary persons who have never been at odds with the law.  As in other states that have recently enacted draconian gun control measures, SB 1160 has caused good jobs and honest business interests to leave the state, unwilling to shoulder the blame for acts committed by criminals that tore at the heart of the business owners and their employees along with all of the good people in Connecticut.

“Even supporters of the law now widely acknowledge that tens of thousands of existing firearms and untold numbers of magazines have not been registered as required.  In other words, Connecticut’s politicians have created from whole cloth an entirely new class of criminals.  These are otherwise ordinary people who work at legitimate jobs, pay taxes, and undoubtedly in many cases are raising families and running businesses that employ others and contribute to the general welfare of the state.

“These are individuals who have never used firearms unlawfully and have no intention of ever doing so.  They had merely chosen to protect their homes and families and pursue their sporting interests with what federal judges are now recognizing as common firearms used in-state and throughout the nation for lawful purposes.  At the time they acquired the firearms, they were perfectly lawful.  Now, these people have become the scapegoats for the heinous acts of a handful of criminals.  Now, they are the pawns in a larger political fight going back decades, when gun control supporters realized that handgun bans would not work, and other avenues would have to be used to condition the public to accept gun bans.

“Only last week, multiple reports surfaced of a disturbing letter that had reportedly been sent to Connecticut gun owners who tried to register their firearms but whose paperwork arrived at the Connecticut State Police (“CSP”) after the deadline.  That letter, dated January 2, 2014, and containing the signature of a State Police lieutenant, gave recipients four choices for disposition of their firearms, none of which indicated they would be given a pass for their late submission.  Rumors swirled, as some claimed this was the precursor to a later campaign of outright confiscation, even by those who tried to comply with the registration aspects of the law but failed because of early Post Office closures or mistakes in paperwork.

“The Connecticut State Police did nothing helpful to alleviate these concerns.  As one rumor after another was reported in breathless media accounts, your NRA was diligently working behind the scenes to learn the truth.  Our experience was consistent with other reports that have since emerged, in that answers received from CSP officials seemed to vary with whomever happened to answer the telephone.  Some said a letter was being drafted but had not been sent.  Others denied the existence of the letter categorically.  Finally, after NRA personnel identified themselves as such and demanded to speak with high ranking officials, confronted these officials with the CSP’s inconsistent answers, and insisted on knowing the truth, the CSP reversed course and admitted to NRA that the letter was authentic and that it had been sent to a number of individuals whose registration paperwork was received after the deadline.  Nevertheless, the officials insisted it was not a warning of later confiscation but a “public service” to advise gun owners whose registrations were rejected of their options.

“Media reports also indicate that the CSP in some cases is willing to grant limited “amnesty” to persons who are believed to have completed the registration requirements prior to the deadline but whose paperwork was received late because of circumstances beyond the registrant’s control.  We find none of this reassuring.  Simply put, the rule of law has broken down in Connecticut and the Malloy administration’s and CSP’s credibility on this issue has been severely compromised.  Nobody seems to know what the state’s intentions are toward residents who have committed purely technical violations of the law, whether or not they unsuccessfully attempted to register their firearms on time.  While we agree that evidence of unsuccessful attempts at registration should not be used to prosecute the registrants, the process of choosing who is and is not eligible for “amnesty” seems to be wide open, with no oversight to ensure consistency or fairness.  In short, Connecticut’s approach to this issue is a glaring example of arbitrary and capricious enforcement of what was bad public policy in the first place.

“The only safe choice for those Connecticut gun owners who have not successfully registered their firearms (whether or not intentionally) is to assume enforcement action remains a very real possibility with very serious consequences.  Nevertheless, we certainly hope the Malloy administration and the CSP will devote their limited resources to focusing on truly dangerous individuals who have no regard for any laws or the lives or well-being of others.  They are the proper targets of law enforcement efforts; not responsible gun owners who were in perfect compliance with the law until a rushed and deeply flawed bill was passed with no chance for public input.

“As for the legislature, they should repeal this ill-considered, politically-motivated law with the Orwellian title of “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.”  Children are not safe when their parents are classified as criminals subject to arrest and imprisonment for the earlier acquisition of property that was undertaken lawfully and in good faith and which threatens harm to no one in the present.  Children are not safe when the next knock at the door could be an armed squad of policemen who are serving warrants against a class of citizens who have done nothing to harm others but have summarily been condemned as “armed criminals.”

“The rule of law is in tatters in the “Constitution State,” and whatever ambiguities remain or misadventures may yet come to pass, one thing is crystal clear: Governor Malloy and those who voted for SB 1160 in the state legislature are responsible for them.

“In the meantime, Connecticut gun owners can be sure that the NRA is standing with them to fight this injustice every step of the way.”

comments

  1. avatar crzapy says:

    Amen!

    1. avatar Tominator says:

      This is the 1ST Stand. All others will be judged by this….and there will be many…

    2. avatar Andy says:

      As of now right after daylight savings time has taken effect , Over at Gun Rights Examiner there is an article about how 250 law enforcement officers in Conneticut have signed a petition advising that they will not enforce the law as they feel that it is Unconstitutional . This is through the Conneticut Peace officers Association , it does not state what branches of law enforcement it is , this is just opening the door for other law enforcement officers to join this movement , I wish them well and hope a majority of officers join .Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        Now there’s an interesting development.

  2. avatar Jus Bill says:

    Who is next? New Jersey? New York? Massachusetts? Maryland? There are dissenters there too.

    And will Virginia succumb to totalitarianism?

    1. avatar Gene says:

      TMac is tring to pull a fast one vy changing a law requiring guns in consoles to now be locked. Currently, just it being closed is sufficient. VCDL sent out an alert about it, and t least my Delegate seemed rather terse indicating the proposition is contrary to a passed law and does not have his support.

      If I’m any indication od tings, my reps email addresses are saved in a draft email that I just fill out and click send. I have no interest in losing what we have gained over the last 20 years.

    2. avatar Steve Truffer says:

      Richmond/ NoVA may, the rest of us will just laugh and keep telling the antis to be quiet while the adults are having a conversation.

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        Richmond and NoVa elected a full slate of anti-gun Democrats as governor, lt. gov and AG, with a good bit of help from Tidewater and quite a few other localities. Don’t know what part of the Commonwealth you’re in, but we can’t let NoVa and the cities go their way. They’ll just drag us along.

    3. avatar tdiinva says:

      Pro-Second Amendment forces control the House of Delegates with a 30 seat majority Governor McAuliffe can propose, but the House of Delegates will dispose of any attempts to infringe on our rights. In Virginia, the Governor has limited power. On this and many issues McAuliffe is already a lame duck.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        30-70…I told you so.

  3. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Our framers would have started shooting right about now. Just sayin.

    1. avatar peirsonb says:

      And funny that many of the battlefields will be the same…

    2. avatar Accur81 says:

      Seems to me that the shooting started in earnest once a mass confiscation was attempted.

  4. avatar benny says:

    Le sigh….
    It’s not that hard, Malloy. The writing on the wall doesn’t say anything great about his future, or CT’s.

  5. avatar Nancy Mantz says:

    If History and logic are any teachers, it is pretty evident to myself and a lot of other folks I know that, as Henry Seward, the Senator from New York said of the Civil War, an “irrepressible conflict” is in the making. There is a clearcut”we” and “them”…We want to preserve the Constitution, the rule of law, and stand for the values and qualities that have made the United States the exceptional country that it is.
    “They” want to “fundamentally transform” our country into a godless, lawless, third rate welfare dictatorship.
    In order to stop that from becoming our fate as a nation, we will have to shove back every time they push, and, like the series of events that preceded the Civil War, eventually there will come a point where coming to blows will be inevitable. Personally, I think that has been the plan of Obama, his minions, and the big money globalists behind him all along.

    1. avatar CArd says:

      At the very least, let’s leave “god” and “welfare” out of this. They are separate issues, and are divisive.

      1. avatar Duke says:

        Agreed.

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    FYI, the State Police in CT really do wear jackboots.

  7. avatar Maineuh says:

    Beautiful. I would not have guessed that this is from the NRA. The language and tone are perfect. What a clusterfuck.

  8. avatar grumpy says:

    and now, another new jersy. wounder how many gun mfg’s will close up shop? how many new lawmakers will be in office next term? and how many citizens will pack up and just move?

  9. avatar racer88 says:

    The CT .gov has painted itself into a corner. They must either enforce the new law (and deal with the sequellae, which will not be pretty) or back off. If they back off by simply choosing to selectively enforce or not enforce at all, they have de-legitimized their own authority. The other choices are to repeal the law voluntarily or by court ruling. No matter what happens, they lose face (or worse).

    1. avatar Maineuh says:

      You get the feeling that many of these people would sincerely rather die than lose face. They have the power to restore peace to Connecticut, but they won’t do it, because admitting a wrong is beyond them. The sin of pride is mighty powerful.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Hubris is a tragic flaw.

      2. avatar Dennis says:

        They may well rather die than lose face but they also know that they are not the ones that will be dying.

        Unless the fight is taken to their doorstep.

        1. avatar Avid Reader says:

          Bingo. They’re more than willing to have other people die for their agenda.

        2. avatar dan says:

          their list is publicly posted…as was the citizens list…Tyrants will never go quietly ….since force is their primary desire……..

    2. avatar Randy Drescher says:

      The CT gov. is doing what their constituents want. The CT government could care less about weapons, it is a voting hook. The sheep have horns & they are leaning on their government. Why do the sheep want guns? Just play back the Fl. trial & that will be clear. So they need to go after guns because their voters say so. Yeah, I’d say they are between a rock & hard place./// We post the DGU of the day, they read another murder of a great person. How do we get out of this pissing contest? Maybe try to save some of the young Black kids/adults that are being shot. Open up the F’n inner core gyms that were all shut down because of budget cuts, give them a “good” gang to belong to. That will save hundreds. The bradys will kill a thousand of us to save “one life”./// Some might say the politicians don’t give a sh!t. They will do as they are told. If the brady’s see some effort maybe they will cut us some slack. I would rather work together than start trashing the US. They need be willing to compromise also or justice will need to come from the end of a barrel etc etc. This isn’t so much at Racer as me blowing off steam.

      1. avatar CA.Ben says:

        The grabbers will never, ever, in a million years, cut us some slack. They will take every inch of slack that we give them and pull at it twice as hard. Which is why it is as important as ever to NOT COMPROMISE, even one bit.

        1. avatar Randy Drescher says:

          Ben, I’m not talking about giving up anything except making & effort to reach the kids before we need to shoot them. I am not advocating giving up 1 gun.

  10. avatar Sammy says:

    Is there any way for Connecticut gun owners to securely store their weapons in a gun friendly state until this is straightened out?

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      The law permits them to do so.

      Perhaps the NRA should offer bonded, safe storage to those not having friends or relatives suitably positioned to provide such.

      1. avatar Sammy says:

        I don’t know the logistics involved, but Connecticut defiantly needs such a service at the moment. I know I would appreciate such help if I were a captive of the (un)Constitution(al) State.

  11. avatar Skyler says:

    “Simply put, experience has often shown that NRA is more effective in lending its expertise and resources, rather than its name, to litigation.”

    Oh, so that explains why they did nothing for a hundred years to get a ruling on the second amendment in court.

    1. avatar Kyle says:

      They waited to take it to the SCOTUS because the SCOTUS during most of the 20th century was likely to rule against the Second Amendment being an individual right.

      1. avatar John J. says:

        They weren’t the group that took it to the SCOTUS.

    2. avatar Kirk says:

      Well it wasn’t until 1975 that the ILA was created and the NRA didn’t have nearly the clout then that it has now.

  12. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    THAT is one of the most beautiful pieces of prose I’ve ever seen.

    I doff my hat to those responsible.

    1. avatar Tominator says:

      NRA Proud! Yes it is!

  13. avatar Accur81 says:

    That was exceptionally well written, with a mix of fact and passion. The gun control laws passed by the statists in CT, and the circumstances surrounding the enforcement of these laws, are indicative of the operation of the civilian industrial disarmament machine nationwide.

    I’ve just submitted my Stand Strong photo. This could get interesting, although I pray that it doesn’t.

  14. avatar William Burke says:

    Way back when I used to send my measly money to the NRA, it was ALWAYS earmarked to the ILA, and not the NRA in general….

  15. avatar drewtam says:

    Looking at the broader picture, I am worried about a situation where they never prosecute an owner, but rather this strangles any gun ownership growth. Letting it strangle for 2 generations before starting rigid enforcement can be very powerful in draining the fight out of people.

    1. avatar CoolBreeze72 says:

      drewtam, I think this is their defacto strategy now. How many other bad laws continue to be on the books. Another log on the fire that burns the Constitution.

  16. avatar Kyle says:

    Joined the NRA right after Newtown, just renewed my membership. NRA can be slow and clumsy on things, but is an important organization in this fight nonetheless.

  17. avatar cubby123 says:

    Go Get EM NRA!!!!

  18. avatar dan says:

    But are you standing with them..locked and loaded….as in ..NO MORE TYRANNY ALLOWED HERE….?…..

  19. avatar Mina says:

    I think I know where some of this is newly found backbone is coming from.

    but I ain’t telling.

    let’s just say the major 2nd amendment foundations recently realized what a a big red pill could do for the movement 🙂

    good to see it’s working its majic.

  20. avatar Gw says:

    Repost from http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/03/robert-farago/might-member-armed-intelligentsia/

    Regardless of the intent expressed by the legislators, the evidence is now irrefutable that their actions have resulted in transposing many among the vast numbers of Morally-conscious, ‘Rights’-respecting, Law-abiding, Dutiful and Peaceable Citizens into ‘criminals under law’.
    Given these and other facts, the only logical, rational and reasonable solution to the legal problems lawmakers have created for themselves, the Citizens and those now trapped in the tenuous position as law-enforcement officers — is to immediately rescind the laws as enacted.
    Suggestion to de-escalate the legislatively-created conflict as follows:

    While our initial intent was purely in the interest of making an effort to enact laws with a mind toward preventing gun violence and enhancing safety and security;
    upon further review and given ancillary considerations;
    We as representatives, find that;-
    the laws as enacted were beyond the scope of Constitutionally-permitted authority and inconsistent with our Moral, Ethical and Legal Duties to ‘Secure Rights’ of all Citizens of the Great State of Connecticut.
    Therefore, all laws under Public Act 13-3, Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety are hereby rescinded.

    [ Simple point of inquiry: What better reason can there possibly be for legislators to avoid enacting ‘Rights’-violating laws than simply adhering to laws already written into Constitutions as ‘Rights‘ they‘re Duty-bound to protect, secure and defend?
    In the case at hand all that’s necessary is to simply rescind those erroneously written. ]

  21. avatar Ray says:

    This guy got it right during another prohibition:

    “The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.”
    -Albert Einstein

  22. avatar James R says:

    I think this was actually well written and appropriate.
    Normally the NRA-ILA releases are so melodramatic I want to puke.

  23. avatar Matt says:

    Glad to hear something decisive out of the NRA past their support of our lawsuit.

  24. avatar John says:

    Sir;

    ‘…America’s oldest civil rights organization…’ is actually the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, second globally only to the British Rifle Association. The NRA was founded by the same people who started the NYSR&PA; we were started much for the same reason the NRA was started.

    Thanks for the good work you do and for fighting the good fight.

    Respectfully;

    John

    Central Region Director, NYSR&PA

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