Whenever a government agency releases information on a Friday afternoon you can bet that they’re trying to downplay bad or unpopular news. In the case of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission’s 277-page final report, the document is roughly the same as the draft released last month – aside from 18 gun control recommendations (listed below). In the main, the report remains anti-gun in extremis. Before any discussion of Adam Lanza’s obvious untreated mental illness, it launches into a rant against gun ownership in general and “assault weapons” in specific. Like this [paragraph breaks added] . . .
United States civilians own or possess in excess of 300 million guns: as of 2009, they owned or possessed approximately 114 million handguns, million rifles and 86 million shotguns. The incidence of gun ownership/possession in the United States nearly one gun on average for every resident—is the highest in the world. Most guns are lawfully owned by law abiding persons who use them for recreational activities, such as hunting and target practice, and/or for self-defense. However, many guns are owned or possessed illegally or, even if legal, are used for unlawful purposes.
Beyond the sheer number of guns in the United States, the lethality of readily available firearms and ammunition continues to increase. The connection between the extent of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the lethality [their emphasis] of weapons used in the attack on the school is self-evident and beyond dispute.
The Commission is deeply concerned about the proliferation, throughout the civilian population, of weapons that were specifically designed for military use during wartime. ―Assault weapons‖ like the AR-15, as well as large capacity magazines often used with those weapons, have no legitimate place in the civilian population. The Commission finds that the cost to society of easy civilian access to assault weapons and large capacity magazines vastly outweighs the benefits of civilian ownership.
By contrast, the Commission finds that the significant benefit to society from eliminating civilian ownership and possession of assault weapons and large capacity magazines can be realized with only a minimal burden on persons who want to hunt, engage in target practice or use weapons for self-defense. They remain free to engage in those activities with a vast array of long guns and handguns.
In short, the Commission‘s first goal is simply to limit the possession and use of weapons designed for wartime use to members of our military services and law enforcement personnel.
And there I was thinking that the goal of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission was to recommend effective ways to avoid or combat future school shootings. ‘Cause this ain’t it. It’s like trying to ban cars to eliminate drunk driving.
It gets worse. Instead of directly addressing the educational, social services and mental health systems’ repeated, abject and decade-long failure to address Adam Lanza’s obvious psychosis, the report makes general statements on how to improve these systems.
Rather than mine A.L.‘s life and interactions with particular mental health systems for insights into how those systems can better serve the state‘s children, however, the Commission had a different charge. It was tasked to study the systems themselves . . .
While discerning no clear answers to the question of what role A.L.‘s behavioral health challenges played in the violence he ultimately inflicted, the Commission nonetheless turns its attention to what we have learned about the role of mental disorder in violent events.
That’s like saying instead of examining the commanders’ and soldiers’ actions during a disastrous battle we should examine our military as a whole. Epic. Fail. No really. The Commission didn’t even try to address the central issues of active shooter prevention and, most importantly, appropriate reaction.
The Commission contends that, while it is not yet possible to prevent such events from taking place or to insulate people from the suffering that ensues, there is much that governments, schools and other institutions can do to facilitate an effective and humane response.
“Safe School Design” is all well and good, but institutionalizing Lanza or firing a bullet into his brain as he approached the school would have been extremely effective at preventing the Sandy Hook mass shooting. Sigh. I didn’t expect much from this politically correct exercise in post-facto security theater, but I sure hoped for more. Here are their inevitable, regrettable gun control proposals, none of which would have prevented Lanza’s onslaught.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 1. Mandatory background checks on the sale or transfer of any firearm, including long guns, at private and gun show sales. Status: Recommendation accepted and adopted by P.A. 13-3, § 1.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 2. Require registration, including a certificate of registration, for every firearm. This certificate of registration should be issued subsequent to the completion of a background check and is separate and distinct from a permit to carry.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 3. Require firearms permits to be renewed on a regular basis. This renewal process should include a test of firearms handling capacity as well as an understanding of applicable laws and regulations. Status: Not adopted.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 4. Institute a ban on the sale, possession, or use of any magazine or ammunition feeding device in excess of 10 rounds except for military and police use. In proposing this recommendation, the Commission recognized that certain sporting events at times involve the use of higher capacity magazines. However, the consensus of the Commission was that the spirit of sportsmanship can be maintained with lower capacity magazines.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 5. Institute a ban on the possession or sale of all armor-piercing and incendiary bullets, regardless of caliber. First-time offenses should be classified as a Class D Felony.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 6. Allow ammunition purchases only for registered firearms.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 7. Evaluate best practices for determining the regulation or prohibition of the sale and purchase of ammunition via the Internet.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 8. Evaluate the effectiveness of federal law in limiting the purchase of firearms via the Internet to only those individuals who have passed the appropriate background screening.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 9. Limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased at any given time.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 10. Prohibit the possession, sale or transfer of any firearm capable of firing more than 10 rounds without reloading. This prohibition would extend to military-style firearms as well as handguns. Law enforcement and military would be exempt from this ban.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 11. Require that trigger locks must be provided at the time of sale or transfer of any firearm
RECOMMENDATION NO. 12. Require that the state develop and update a ―best practices‖ manual and require that all firearms in a home be stored in a locked container and adhere to these best practices; with current minimum standards featuring a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety (including biometric) device when they are not under the owner’s direct control or supervision. The owner should also be directly responsible for securing any key used to gain access to the locked container.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 13. Require non-residents seeking to purchase a firearm or ammunition in the State of Connecticut to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility and conform to all other regulations applicable to Connecticut residents.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 14. Require gun clubs to report any negligent or reckless behavior with a firearm, or illegal possession of any firearm or magazine, to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Commissioner of Public Safety, and local law enforcement.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 15. Requiring promoters of gun shows to receive a permit from the Chief of Police or Chief Elected Official as well as provide notice to the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 16. Require that any shell casing for ammunition sold or possessed in Connecticut have a serial number laser etched on it for tracing purposes.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 17. Any person seeking a license to sell, purchase or carry any type of firearm in the state should be required to pass a suitability screening process.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 18. To allow, at a judge’s discretion, the opportunity to temporarily remove any firearms, ammunition, and carry permits from a person who is the subject of an ex parte restraining order, civil protection order or family violence protective order, at the time of the issuance of that order. The Commission believes that the time period between the ex parte request and the issuance of a full restraining order, civil protection order or family violence protective order, constitutes a period of critical danger, one that must be recognized under law and addressed via judicial discretion.