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23 State AGs Support Appeal of Decision Upholding Connecticut’s New Gun Law

by Hugh McQuaid | May 27, 2014 3:00pm
(32) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts, Legal

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Attorneys general in 23 states signed on last week to an appeal by state Second Amendment advocates of a federal court decision which upheld the constitutionality of Connecticut’s gun control law.

The appeal comes from gun rights supporters in Connecticut who unsuccessfully challenged the state’s post-Sandy Hook gun control law. In January, a federal court judge ruled that the law passes constitutional muster, even if it is a burden on gun owners.

The plaintiffs, which include the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, gun store owners, and individual citizens, have taken their case federal Second Circuit Appeals Court.

On Thursday, attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming filed an amicus, or “friend of the court” brief, in support of the gun rights advocates.

“The amici states believe that the fundamental rights of their citizens and others should receive the highest protection. Connecticut’s Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety . . . burdens those rights and should be subject to strict scrutiny,” the brief read.

In a 25-page document, the states argue that Connecticut’s law will be ineffective and was not narrowly tailored to protect the public and prevent crime. The underlying lawsuit and the amicus brief both challenge the state’s expanded assault weapons ban, which prohibits AR-15 style rifles.

“Increased accuracy means more effective self-defense, less risk of danger for innocent bystanders, and, as a result, increased public safety. Furthermore, although mass shootings are tragic occurrences, and states have a compelling interest in preventing them, states cannot do so by simply banning weapons in violation of the Second Amendment,” the states wrote.

The ban and other provisions like a prohibition on large-capacity ammunition magazines were enacted by the legislature after a gunman murdered 20 children and six educators with an AR-15 style weapon at a Newtown elementary school in December 2012.

In their original challenge of the law, the plaintiffs alleged the statute was unconstitutional and provisions within it were too vague to apply. But in a 47-page ruling in January, U.S. District Court Judge Alfred Covello wrote that the law was not vague enough to be considered unconstitutional.

“The court concludes that the legislation is constitutional. While the act burdens the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control,” he wrote.

The gun rights groups responded May 16 with a 70-page appeal to the Second Circuit Court, alleging that the judge erred by not finding the law unconstitutional and unworkably vague.

“Courts and legislatures do not have the authority to second-guess the choices made by law-abiding citizens by questioning whether they really ‘need’ the arms they have chosen to possess,” the gun advocate’s appeal reads.

Attorney General George Jepsen’s office declined to comment Tuesday on the brief filed by attorneys general from other states. But in a January statement, Jepsen promised to “vigorously defend” the law “in the event of any appeal that may be filed.”

“The measures enacted by the General Assembly in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy are entirely appropriate, sensible, and lawful,” Jepsen said following the judge’s decision.

Second Amendment advocates have also vowed to influence the upcoming elections, primarily in opposition to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who signed the law. It is unclear how much impact they will have.

A poll conducted this month by Quinnipiac University suggests that a majority of Connecticut voters — 56 percent — support the law.  Asked if they could still vote for a candidate who disagreed with them on the issue of gun control, 65 percent of voters said they could, while just 27 percent said they couldn’t.

Meanwhile, gun control advocates have promised to support Malloy and lawmakers who voted for the new restrictions. During a press conference marking the law’s anniversary, Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said his group was raising money to support pro-gun control candidates and believed Connecticut could be “Ground Zero” in the national battle over gun control during this election cycle.

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(32) Comments

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 27, 2014  3:20pm

Fantastic!

I think this decision to support the appeal probably also came from their reading of the Appeal that the CCDL lawyers filed. It was again Fantastic.

The only way this doesnt get overturned or heavily modified is if the judges dont follow the law, which is unfortunately quite probable.

The only reason 56% support the law is that 50% of them don’t know what’s in it outside of headlines.

posted by: Fisherman | May 27, 2014  7:18pm

“It is unclear how much impact they (Second Amendment Advocates) will have.”

TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK…
Ask John McKinny just “how much”. After his “YES” vote on SB-1160, HIS OWN PARTY only gave him 11.6% (not even enough to primary!).

His camp worked the room DESPERATELY to get enough Switch-Votes to get to 16.6%; to allow him to recover his money from the citizen’s election fund. He is now largely considered to be un-electable.

Compare this with Ms. Bacchiochi’s nomination figures (50.4%). Yes; Ms. Bacchiochi voted against SB-1160.

It is exceedingly clear what the impact will be.

posted by: shinningstars122 | May 27, 2014  8:34pm

shinningstars122

Many here are all about “state” rights until your get to the Second Amendment…then all of you want the federal government to have ultimate jurisdiction.

You can’t have it both ways.

Once again a majority of CT residents want comprehensive and responsible gun control.

The vocal minority can cry all they want but it only when change occurs at the state level that change will occur on the national level.

If you think the NRA and CCDL narrative is anything but self serving well keep on idolizing Wayne Pierre and his doom days proclamations.

I am also quite certain that the majority of those 23 AGs have no interest in any changes in their own states toward reasonable gun control including straw purchases and gun show sales…which eventually end up on the streets of CT illegally.

They can keep their heads in the sand believing that gun violence is not a major public health concern in our country.

Sadly for us in CT we do know that is simply not the case.

posted by: middleoftheroad | May 27, 2014  10:23pm

Amen, shinningstars122.

Say it again.  This is major health issue.

posted by: shinningstars122 | May 28, 2014  4:47am

shinningstars122

@ Fisherman The CCDL only has 15,100 likes on FB that would be 0.72% of CT voters, 2013 data listed 2.1 million active voters.

If you look nationally at the NRA, memberships is between 4.5 and maybe 10 millions at the most, with 2012 data stating there was 235 million voters that would only be 4.25% of the electorate.

Clearly that is nowhere close to a majority or a sample representation of the population.

Are they a powerful lobby? Yes.

The State GOP convention was only ” embracing” these candiates for the sobering political fact that they need everyone of these votes.

If Foley is your guy I very much look forward to his public rationale of limiting gun policy and expanding guns rights.

Are you all sure you want him as your poster boy?

posted by: Greg | May 28, 2014  7:44am

SS122: Perhaps you can explain the benefit to public safety of banning each of the invidivual items:

- Bayonet lug
- flash hider
- folding stock
- forward grip
- pistol grip
- “grenade launcher”

because nobody can seem to articulate with any manner of rational argument why banning those individual items makes CT a safer place for anyone under the guise of “sensible, responsible” gun control. Please enlighten us.

posted by: Greg | May 28, 2014  7:45am

“I am also quite certain that the majority of those 23 AGs have no interest in any changes in their own states toward reasonable gun control including straw purchases and gun show sales…which eventually end up on the streets of CT illegally.”

Source?  That’s one hell of an unfounded allegation.

posted by: scruffylookin | May 28, 2014  7:54am

ShiningStars, Your assumption that it’s convenient for the plaintiffs to use the federal system after crying for “states rights” falls flat on it’s face when you read the Connecticut Constitution. Article First,  SEC. 15. “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” No mention of a militia. No mention of “reasonable restrictions”. The state does not get to decide for its citizens the methods they choose for self defense.

posted by: scruffylookin | May 28, 2014  8:00am

@ShiningStars Gov. Malloy won his election by less than 6,500 votes. McKinney has been forced to the sidelines as a spectator. Do you really think the pro-2A crowd in CT is voiceless?

posted by: Nutmeg87 | May 28, 2014  8:02am

Hey…  there are numerous reasons why people will go out of their way to vote in a mid-term election….  QPoll says +60% of Ct voters “could vote” for a pro-gun rights candidate despite not agreeing (only +25% coulndt)..

The significance of CCDL is that Malloy won by narrowest margins (~6,000 votes) despite Obama coattails…  This is probably the ONLY grass-roots GOP organization in CT that I’ve seen in years that can mobilize an electorate…  in a generally tax-exhaused,anti-Hartford, debt-burdened, cash strapped, bleek furure sentiment of today’s malaise in CT…

Hey Foley looks good…  AT least we’re NOT getting a career slick-mouthed politician and his legitimate business roots may actually start to work on the historic entitlements & DEBT that we have in CT…  Foley may not be the most elegant or charismatic speaker, but he may be the most qualified to get something done here…

posted by: dano860 | May 28, 2014  8:14am

SS122,
Many of us, CCDL members don’t have FB or do tweets or twits. The “likes” number is mute as far as credibility goes.
NRA membership surpassed 5 million in May 2013.(Wikipedia)
The FBI reports that there are (apprx.) 350 M firearms in the U.S. They say each firearm owner has, on average, 4 per pieces person or that there are 87.5 M firearm owners in the U.S.
That would mean that there are about 82.5 M non-members. Of that number I would presume many are voters and they are probably from many all sides of the political spectrum.
As I have said before, the term “gun control”, should be dropped from our lexicon. The truth is they want firearm elimination and try to hide behind a ‘we a nice, understanding people’ while they look the other way when it comes to the real problem, sick people. They need to breakdown the HIPA issue.
All they have managed to do is change the method of mayhem that the sick people can ‘legally’ choose. For the drug dealers and gang bangers the law doesn’t apply anyway.
The latest sick person decided to use two methods but do we hear anything about how he could have been helped before it got this far? By the sounds of what we know of his problem we should make prostitution legal, he could have bought himself a little loving and saved six lives.
There is a constant erosion of our Constitution under the pretense of creating a better society. Again, the firearms are not at the root of the problem.

posted by: LongJohn47 | May 28, 2014  9:25am

Fisherman is absolutely right in pointing out that the gun lobby is king of Republican politics.  McKinney is one example, Mark Boughton’s withdrawal from the Bloomberg mayor’s group is another.

The more important question is whether this is a viable general election strategy.  Will Foley adopt a clear, pro-gun stance in contrast to Malloy, or will he try to muddle through? 

If the former, he risks alienating women, who strongly support gun control.  If the latter, he risks turning off hard core gun people and having them stay home.

Watching Foley on this issue will give a good indication of how he might operate as governor.

posted by: CT Jim | May 28, 2014  9:25am

The part that amazes me is why is this news lol. It’s not some shocking news that a bunch of right wing AG’s running scared of the big bad NRA are going to sign on to something as stupid as wasting taxpayer dollars on this crap. You can find most of these same people on the lawsuit trying to claim ACA was unconstitutional. Guess what? It wasn’t. The supreme court which has it’s share of crazies hasn’t gotten to the point to where they just forget reason and go with ideology. Not saying it won’t happen but they haven’t gone completely over the crazy edge yet. And it makes me laugh that these so called patriots defending the constitution have no problem with a court that shredded it to justify their warped interpretation of it.  Any way this is not news. These nut jobs also believe in creationism and call global warming a hoax. What’s next? Having an article on Robert Reich proclaiming trickle down economics doesn’t work?

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 28, 2014  12:38pm

Can you please define responsible and comprehensive gun control in detail? To me that’s just talking point language. Those of us gun owners dont want to get shot in a movie theatre or heaven forbid have our families hurt, so please in detail outline what this legislation might look like.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 28, 2014  12:48pm

I was just at lunch with some friends (yes I have a few of those) and one brought up the incident this past weekend in Ft Lauderdale when large gangs of youths decided to go to the beach area on A1A if you have ever been there, and go riot, wilding, brick throwing. Police in riot gear were called to disperse these people and they didnt go quietly.

One of these friends is not a gun owner but his exact words were “things are just getting so crazy in this country. Some in the media were trying to hide this. I really need to get my permit and get a few guns.”

With crazies running around and gangs like that just going after beach goers and families on a nice Memorial Day, do you really think that people aren’t getting more afraid and getting more of an appreciation for the right to bear arms?

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 28, 2014  4:16pm

The ACLU even sees the issues with comprehensive background checks. Thats why I am asking for details on how this is supposed to work. I certainly dont want nut jobs buying guns but the idiot in California bought some legally under very tough laws and kept them even after he fooled the police who went and did a face to face visit with him. Then again he also killed people with a knife and car but the fact that more people die from stabbing each year is of course a fact that the anti gun people like to forget.

http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/04/exclusive-aclu-says-reids-gun-legislation-could-threaten-privacy-rights-civil-liberties/

posted by: ASTANVET | May 28, 2014  5:25pm

As much as I like gun rights, and am an avid shooter - this has no business in the federal courts.  This is a state law, not a federal law, and should be adjudicated in state courts.  Our efforts should be addressing the State constitutional infringements not the 2A.  Our redress is in new legislation to repeal and vote out the people who like to infringe on our rights.  I do not like the use of Fed Courts to solve a state problem.  It creates a bad precedent.

posted by: shinningstars122 | May 28, 2014  6:57pm

shinningstars122

@scruffylooking that is true but these are also part of our state Constitution.

SEC. 9. No person shall be arrested, detained or punished, except in cases clearly warranted by law.

That is clearly not the case since the war on terror began. Just Google NDAA.

Or how about this one?
SEC. 7. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches or seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or things, shall issue without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.

I guess license plate readers and government surveillance is OK in your book?

It is reasonable to believe that the Founding Fathers could not envision the world some two hundred plus years, and hundred of millions of guns later, and how modern society would unfold.

Your pursuit of liberty is no greater than mine but if we disagree on the issue that gun violence is a problem in our society, both legal and illegal, well were is the middle ground?

All of our liberty is equal sir.

Our state Constitution, just like the US Constitution, are living documents that are able to ebb and shift with the changes in society.

They are not written in stone. It is through public discourse, debate, experience, judicial and legislative actions that these documents evolve and come to life.

Honestly if we as a country stayed ” true” to the original US Constitution well the slaves would have need been freed or women ever given the right to vote.

Is that the type of America you want?

posted by: shinningstars122 | May 28, 2014  7:06pm

shinningstars122

@Greg Knock yourself reading this for starers.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/procon/guns.html

Or this one.
http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-gun-policy-and-research/research/gun_trafficking.html

I am sorry it not an allegation but is the cold sobering fact most guns in crime are legally bought.

If you like it short and sweet this one will do the trick.
http://gunvictimsaction.org/fact-sheet/fact-sheet-illegal-gun-trafficking-arms-criminals-and-youth/

posted by: shinningstars122 | May 28, 2014  7:17pm

shinningstars122

@nutmeg87 >>>>Foley may not be the most elegant or charismatic speaker, but he may be the most qualified to get something done here…

Careful what you wish for.

It amazes me that many folks believe a millionaire venture capitalist, who to my knowledge has never even been on a PTA board, will have more in common with us the working folks?

It is hilarious if not simply naive of the facts.

These type of people are the same type of ” leaders” who a generation ago killed the manufacturing based economy in our country because ” costs” were too high.

What that really means is that all these ” smart” business men, and the majority were white men, were all to short sighted and irresponsible to envision what would occur less than three decades later in our country when you gut the middle class.

Keep blaming the politicians and Malloy folks.

Denial is not just not a river in Egypt.

Hey those Egyptians have a great idea, like Wavy Gravy once did, vote for nobody.

posted by: shinningstars122 | May 28, 2014  7:33pm

shinningstars122

@Joebigjoe where should I start?

You really want to bring a hang gun to a movie theater?!?

I hope it is not a Glock?

I am sorry but that worse case scenario does not strengthen your argument.

It is a NRA fear based narrative that all of middle and upper middle class white America love to use to rationalize owning a AK-47 or two or three and why not throw in a couple 9 mm and several hundred rounds of ammunition?

I will make an assumption here and forgive me if I am completely off base here…first that you do not live in a inner city that has serious issues with drugs, gangs, and other street crimes?

If that is the case then why make that argument?

It is simply being reactionary on the issue.

As for what I might consider ” reasonable” rules for legal gun ownership.

One single nation wide background check.Think like selective service.

Tougher penalties for gun traffickers and straw sale sellers and purchasers.

7 day waiting period, and the background check, for all private and gun show sales.

Reinstate the automatic weapons ban.

Now that was not so bad?

posted by: LongJohn47 | May 28, 2014  8:17pm

Joe—in 2011, the most recent year that we have statistics, there were 8,583 people murdered by guns vs. 1,694 by stabbing or cutting.  In fact, gun homicides account for approximately 2/3s of all murders year in and year out.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004888.html

posted by: ASTANVET | May 29, 2014  5:32am

Shining Stars - while i agree with you that this is a state, not a federal problem.  At what point do we start to blame criminals and not the method in which they commit crimes.  Society does not commit crimes, people do, yet you want to ‘punish’ society by further legislation.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me - there should be a presumption of innocence (even to a gun owner) that they will not just willie nillie commit crime.  I have been a gun owner my whole life, the only people I have shot at were on the battlefield.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 29, 2014  6:07am

Long John you are right and I stand corrected.

I was on a roll and meant to say that fists and hammers kill more people than knives, as I was focused on knives since that appears to be the latest weapon of choice in that school in Pennsylvania as well as the first people killed in California.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 29, 2014  6:22am

Thank you for replying shining stars. When people actually reply to questions we can actually have a better discussion and as it relates to a few items you said, maybe some agreement.

I do carry a concealed gun when I go to the movies. I found that although I am a big strong guy that carrying a policeman on my back just wasnt feasible. Its a small Kahr MK40 that fits in my pocket in a concealed holster not much bigger than my wallet in my other front pocket. I conceal like that because even as a gun owner I would “wonder” why I see someone that has not concealed their weapon and I would rather watch the movie and not have to be thinking about that.

Why do I carry? Gangs of popcorn thieves.

You said

“One single nation wide background check.Think like selective service.
Tougher penalties for gun traffickers and straw sale sellers and purchasers.
7 day waiting period, and the background check, for all private and gun show sales.
Reinstate the automatic weapons ban.”

Nationwide background check? I dont think the people in Texas and Wyoming would go for that unless the checks were what they wanted and not the nuts in NY and California. The facts dont support the way those states do things. I would be generally for it if the rules nationwide were like Texas and there was no way to cross reference and track the weapons people have bought. Gun registration is a non starter in the US and thats not the NRA speaking.

Tougher penalties? Yes where do I sign on to that one? I agree.

7 day waiting period I say no if someone has a permit. No permit I can go with that.

I have never bought or attended a gun show. I have heard issues of people not able to buy at a gun show because the background check system wasnt working. If that happens then the govt has screwed up and whats the penalty for that for restraining trade? How about if the system at a gun show is not working for longer than an hour, the government can pay for that weapon to be shipped to the person buying it?

What is an “automatic” weapons ban?

posted by: scruffylookin | May 29, 2014  10:02am

ShiningStar Said “As for what I might consider ” reasonable” rules for legal gun ownership.

One single nation wide background check.Think like selective service.

Tougher penalties for gun traffickers and straw sale sellers and purchasers.

7 day waiting period, and the background check, for all private and gun show sales.

Reinstate the automatic weapons ban.

Now that was not so bad? “

Every FFL Sale already requires a NICS (background check). The problem is that many states do NOT furnish thorough records.
As for making them more wide spread, I have no problem with that except there should be no record of the check. I wouldn’t want a list of people who have passed one. Just a list of people who can’t. Make sense?

7 day waiting period for a handgun? Why? Most states require a pistol permit to buy a handgun. If they have already done that, why should they wait?

Tougher penalties for trafficking and straw buyers? ABSO-FRICKEN-LUTELY.

Automatice weapons have been “banned” since 1934.

posted by: Nutmeg87 | May 29, 2014  10:07am

shinningstars….
I’m with you on the frustration…  But we have a real time bomb here in CT…  #10 in foreclosures nationwide, Highest Debt/citizen nationwide and 50% of citizens (most likely the tax-paying type) wanting to leave the state & its debt behind… An entitlement structures that just reminds me of Detroit…

When I had chest problems, I didnt seek out a charismatic smooth talking holistic healer, nor did I seek out the epitome of a middle-class working class person (minority, woman or not)...  I looked for the BEST cardiac person I could find in my area…  And he/she is NOT the most articulate nor a metaphor of the struggling working class…  But I Reallly needed a job done….

Foley did not run a govt or PTA, but as a successful VC I would imagine that we need some entrepreneurially creative ways out of this quagmire…  Because the status quo will just end up like Detroit….  And nothing good is going to come out of our single-party Legislature…

posted by: CT Jim | May 29, 2014  12:29pm

Nutmeg 87, The standard for a successful VC is to purchase a company with no money down, load up the company with tons of debt, break up the company during bankruptcy, split the money acquired racking up the debt sell off the pieces of whats left and flee. That may sound like success to you It doesn’t to the rest of us. Especially since we the taxpayers are not going to bail out these crooks again.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 29, 2014  1:09pm

Wow Jim your VC description is quite off.

I think you meant private equity but even that is wrong.

VCs will invest in companies in the hope that it goes public and they can make tons of money or they can sell it to a larger firm and make tons of money.

posted by: Nutmeg87 | May 30, 2014  10:08am

Jim
Thats my point here…

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and you can always learn something from everyone…

But what we have now are VERY LARGE fiscal problems…  We need people who have a great understanding of BUSINESS…  Yes some dealmakers are profiteers; but many do great things…  Your idea of VC is totally incorrect…  Private Equity is where companies like KKR, Bain, Blackstone purchase companies that are in trouble and turn them around…  Just borrowing to pay for employees making things that the marketplace doesnt want anymore just leads to bankruptcy and no jobs anyways…  DETROIT is a municipality in such distress…

Venture Capital is the most risky investments - buying companies that dont even have sales -  Just ideas, research and vision - they are the reason that the world has APPLE, GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, COMPAQ/HP, NETSCAPE, MICROSOFT, AMGEN, BIOGEN today -  Our lives have forever changed by the commecialization of technology…  in the old days ONLY the military funded science & research innovations that trickled down to consumers…

Foley went to Philips Academy, Harvard College and Harvard Business School…  Then cut his teeth at McKinsey (favorite of liberals) and then Citicorp Venture Capital…  He understands how large buisinesses work and how new & innovative ideas can transform things…

posted by: LongJohn47 | May 30, 2014  12:38pm

Nutmeg—Bush2 went to Andover, Yale, and Harvard Business School, and look how well that turned out.

Government is not a business.  Voters are not shareholders.  Wall Street is not the ultimate measuring stick. 

Successful business(wo)men don’t automatically make good governors, just like politicians rarely are successful in running corporations (unless, of course, the corporation relies on the government for its business, like Haliburton—but that’s another story).

Listen carefully to what Foley says.  Virtually every time he opens his mouth he screws up, and the rest of the time he’s mouthing platitudes.

I agree that Malloy can be abrasive, and it would be better for him and everyone concerned if he could work on that.

But by any objective measure this state is turning around, and Malloy had to make tough choices to get that to happen.

posted by: NicH74 | June 5, 2014  4:23pm

We in CT do not need the GUN BULLY AGs of other states trying to impose their DEADLY IDIOCY upon us! Mind your own extreme health issue of gun deaths, which are on the rise, & do something intelligent about it as we have. It is a forgone conclusion that Malloy will win another term because, as stated in the above, the MAJORITY of CT residents want these laws & more on the books!