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Deadline To Register Your Assault Weapon is Jan. 1

by Hugh McQuaid | Dec 3, 2013 6:30am
(8) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Civil Liberties, Town News, Law Enforcement, Legal, Public Safety

Hugh McQuaid file photo

Guns displayed at a hearing earlier this year by the state police

Connecticut residents who own guns categorized as assault weapons under firearm regulations have until the end of the month to register the weapons with the state before risking felony charges in some cases.

The registration requirement was included in gun control regulations approved in April as part of a state response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The law expanded the number of firearms prohibited in Connecticut and banned the sale of ammunition magazines that carry more than 10 rounds.

Although the law did not require gun owners who had previously purchased the weapons and magazines to get rid of them, it did require them to register the equipment with the state. The deadline for declaring the guns and high capacity magazines is Jan. 1.

As of mid-November, the state had received about 4,100 applications for assault weapon certificates and about 2,900 declarations of large-capacity magazines.

Michael Lawlor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s criminal justice advisor, said that so far fewer people than expected have registered weapons under the new law. However, he said gun owners should take seriously the consequences of ignoring the law. Disregarding the registration requirements can carry felony charges in some cases, which can make Connecticut residents ineligible to own guns.

First-time offenders who can prove they owned the weapon before the law passed, and have otherwise followed the law, may be charged with a class A misdemeanor. In other cases, possessing one of the newly-banned guns will be considered a felony that carries with it a sentence of at least a year in prison.

“If you haven’t declared it or registered it and you get caught . . . you’ll be a felon. People who disregard the law are, among other things, jeopardizing their right to own firearms. If you’re not a law-abiding citizen, you’re not a law-abiding citizen,” Lawlor said.

Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said he believes there are a number of gun owners in the state who have yet to register their weapons. Wilson counts himself among that number, although he said he plans to declare his rifle before Jan. 1. The CCDL is a Second Amendment advocacy group opposed to the new law.

Wilson said many Connecticut gun owners were holding off on registering their weapons while a lawsuit filed by his group makes its way through the court system. The complaint challenged the constitutionality of the new law and asked a judge to bar its implementation.

“I have a hunch that there’s at least 4,000 more [unregistered weapons.]” Wilson said. “I think a lot of our members were hoping there would be injunctive relief before the year’s end.”

Although the lawsuit is still pending, the court has not ordered an injunction and CCDL is advising its members to register their weapons and magazines before the deadline.

Wilson said there is grumbling about the requirement among Connecticut gun owners. Many of them fundamentally oppose the idea of declaring the firearms to the state. He said he agrees with their position, but does not want to see anyone become a felon for not following the new law.

“We’re law-abiding citizens. CCDL is law-abiding. Until we can get this law changed, we feel it’s in our best interest to register. I understand the mindset [of those who chose not register]. It runs contrary to pretty much everything I believe in,” he said. “I’ve dragged my feet. It doesn’t feel right to me but I’m going to do it.”

Wilson said gun owners looking for help complying with the law could visit his group’s website:

The new law added about 100 guns to a list of weapons specifically banned in Connecticut and broadened a “physical characteristic test” of military-style features that make it an assault weapon. The expanded definition of assault weapon includes the AR-15 style weapon the gunman in Newtown used to murder 26 people.

The law includes an exemption for military service members who move to the state after the deadline. They have 90 days to apply for a certificate to keep the gun. Everyone else who moves to the state has a 90-day period to permanently disable it, sell it to a gun dealer, or move it out of Connecticut.

For first time offenders, possession of an assault weapon will be a Class A misdemeanor if the person can prove they owned the gun before the new law passed on April 4 and has otherwise complied with the law.

In other cases it will be a class D felony, which comes with a sentence of at least a year in prison. If someone is convicted of selling or giving someone else one of the newly-categorized assault weapons, it carries a prison sentence of at least two years. The law requires an additional six years in prison if someone gives one of the weapons to a minor.

Punishments for undeclared large-capacity magazines also will vary. Anyone who bought one before the law passed but did not register it will be subject to a $90 fine on the first offense and then will face a Class D felony on subsequent offenses.

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(8) Comments

posted by: CYoung | December 3, 2013  9:57am

“Although the law did not require gun owners who had previously purchased the weapons and magazines to get rid of them, it did require them to register the equipment with the state.”  This notion and statement is completely false.  What this new knee- jerk and impotent law has done is to effectively take away all firearms newly and arbitrarily classified as “assault weapons” from their owners as of Jan. 1st.  In order to reacquire them legally, PERMISSION must be asked for and granted from the discretion of the state.  The law does not simply require a declaration ... It requires a request for permission to get firearms back that will otherwise be deemed automatically to be contraband.  By all accounts, this government taking of private property wouldn’t have changed a darn thing one year ago.

posted by: jshell | December 3, 2013  2:51pm

“First-time offenders who can prove they owned the weapon before the law passed…”

Last time I checked we our innocent until proven guilty in America.

That means, it is the state that has to prove a gun-owner bought the gun after the AWB—and not the gun-owner that has to prove they bought it before.

posted by: ASTANVET | December 3, 2013  3:07pm

ex-post-facto laws - I thought those were bad.

posted by: Joebigjoe | December 3, 2013  4:07pm

My sons school had a drill today for red alert or whatever terms they use now.

Intruder in the school they are to all get in the corner and crouch down. I heard that and wanted to scream.

Have we not learned that getting everyone neatly into one area makes it easier for a gunman to kill alot of people? They’re all in one place falling on each other (sorry for the visual but it shows their stupidity). How about scattering around the room so a gunman has to be a damn good shot hitting moving targets, many of whom I’m sure would escape.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | December 4, 2013  10:43pm

my guess is, more won’t than will.

kinda like prohibition, people kept drinking.  kinda like illegal wed, people still smoke.


posted by: Pat Hines | December 5, 2013  11:22am

Since the CCDL won’t tell you not to register, I will say it.

Citizens of Connecticut, do NOT now or ever register any weapon of any kind.  Under basic common law your self defense tools are no business whatsoever of the state government.

Keep this information to yourself, tell the state government to take a hike.


posted by: Joebigjoe | December 5, 2013  4:37pm

I’m going to register mine. The reason is that if the doomsday scenario of getting a knock on the door comes, I’ll just use it as the Constitution gives me that right, and any society that comes knocking on your door like that is not one I want to be part of and I’d make sure that I make that decision for other people.

posted by: BCM556 | December 29, 2013  10:07pm

“The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statue, to be valid, must be in agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows: The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.” “Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principals follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it…. A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it superseded thereby. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.” Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 177.