Michael Lawlor, Governor Dannel Malloy’s Undersecretary of Criminal Justice for Connecticut and the architect of the state’s troubled early release Earned Risk Reduction Credits program, has given us a peek into Mr. Malloy’s views on pending legislation affecting gun control.
According to Mr. Lawlor, a number of areas need to be addressed by the legislature. They include:
1) Requiring some or all "long guns," such as rifles and shotguns, to have the same regulations on sales and transfers as handguns. Under existing state law, the assault rifle used in the Newtown massacre can be sold from one neighbor to another with no questions asked, Lawlor said.
This is a measure that had been adopted voluntarily, without benefit of legislation, by Hoffman’s Gun Center – “Guns for the Good Guys” – prior to its recommendation by Mr. Lawlor.
2) Better defining an assault weapon so manufacturers can't slightly modify a weapon to render it outside the definition.
Good luck with the definition. Connecticut law already prohibits the sale and transfer of assault weapons, which are described in prohibitive statutes as “firearms capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire at the option of the user.”
Here is a listing of assault weapons banned in Connecticut:
Algimec Agmi; Armalite AR-180; Australian Automatic Arms SAP Pistol; Auto-Ordnance Thompson type; Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47 type; Barrett Light-Fifty model 82A1; Beretta AR-70; Bushmaster Auto Rifle and Auto Pistol; Calico models M-900, M-950 and 100-P; Chartered Industries of Singapore SR-88; Colt AR-15 and Sporter; Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max-1 and Max-2; Encom MK-IV, MP-9 and MP-45; Fabrique Nationale FN/FAL, FN/LAR, or FN/FNC; FAMAS MAS 223; Feather AT-9 and Mini-AT; Federal XC-900 and XC-450; Franchi SPAS-12 and LAW-12; Galil AR and ARM; Goncz High-Tech Carbine and High-Tech Long Pistol; Heckler & Koch HK-91, HK-93, HK-94 and SP-89; Holmes MP-83; MAC-10, MAC-11 Carbien type; Intratec TEC-9 and Scorpion; Iver Johnson Enforcer model 3000; Ruger Mini-14/5F folding stock model only; Scarab Skorpion; SIG 57 AMT and 500 Series; Spectre Auto Carbine and Auto Pistol; Springfield Armory BM59, SAR-48 and G-3; Sterling MK-6 and MK-7; Steyr AUG; Street Sweeper and Striker 12 revolving cylinder shotguns; USAS-12; USI Carbine, Mini-Carbine and Pistol; Weaver Arms Nighthawk; Wilkinson "Linda" Pistol.
Adding yet another long gun to the list would be like dropping holy water into Hell; it would affect criminal gun violence not at all. Chicago has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation -- and the most violent assaults with weapons.
3) Focusing on behavior instead of a diagnosis from a mental health professional in determining who is disqualified from having a permit to own a gun. "Gov. Malloy is very concerned about unnecessary stigmatization about people with mental illness. There are plenty of people who are dangerous who are not mentally ill," Lawlor said.
Some consider it a pity and a lapse of judgment that neither the governor nor Mr. Lawlor are willing to apply the same test to lawful gun owners.
4) Whether a gun owner has to notify authorities if he or she lives with someone who exhibits troubling behavior.
“Troubling behavior” is a term of art. Would membership in the Goth Club of the local high school qualify as “troubling behavior?” What about non-members of the NRA who, in concert with the U.S. Supreme Court, assert that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides an individual right of self-protection? Would such claims qualify as "troubling" or aberrant behavior?
5) Modifying a gun seizure law in Connecticut that allows police to seize weapons from a person at imminent risk to himself or others. Lawlor said the judicial branch has said the guns can be withheld for a year and he suggested the seizure could be permanent.
The gun seizure law should be permanently applied only if the imminent risk to oneself or others is permanent.
6) Restricting the purchase of ammunition to people with gun permits, which Lisa Labella, co-executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence and a speaker at the forum, said would make illegally-owned guns "useless."
It may just as easily create a black market in illegal ammunition sales that would make it less possible to trace a bullet used in a crime to a purchaser.
7) Restricting gun permits to people who have been convicted of more than just felonies and major misdemeanors. He noted drunken driving was not on the list.
Would the restriction have prevented Frankie “The Razor” Resto from acquiring the weapon he used to murder Ibraham Ghazal, the owner of an EZMart in Meriden, after Mr. Resto had been released early under a program designed by Mr. Lawlor? Doubtful.