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Federal Court Finds New Gun Laws Constitutional

by Hugh McQuaid | Jan 30, 2014 5:23pm
(11) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts, Town News, Newtown, Legal

Christine Stuart file photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signing SB 1160 with parents Nicole Hockley and Neil Heslin

A federal court judge ruled Thursday that the state’s new gun control law passes constitutional muster, even if it is a burden on gun owners.

The ruling comes from U.S. District Court Judge Alfred Covello on a lawsuit filed last May in response to new gun control regulations. The legislature passed new firearm legislation on a bipartisan basis in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

The plaintiffs, including the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, gun store owners, and individual citizens alleged that the law was unconstitutional and provisions within it were too vague to apply.

In a 47-page ruling released Thursday, Covello disagreed.

“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,” the decision reads.

The judge agreed that some of the law’s language was vague, but not enough to make the law unconstitutional.

“. . . while several provisions of the legislation are not written with the utmost clarity, they are not impermissibly vague in all of their applications and, therefore, the challenged portions of the legislation are not unconstitutionally vague,” he said.

In an email, CCDL President Scott Wilson said the plaintiffs may quickly appeal the decision.

“We are not entirely surprised by the judge’s ruling at this phase. We are prepared to let the lawyers for all of the plaintiffs appeal this decision forthwith,” he said.

Attorney General George Jepsen said his office was gratified by the decision.

“The measures enacted by the General Assembly in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy are entirely appropriate, sensible, and lawful. We will continue to vigorously defend them in the event of any appeal that may be filed of this decision,” he said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued a statement Thursday evening saying the court made the right decision.

“The common-sense measures we enacted last session will make our state safer, and I am grateful for the court’s seal of approval,” he said.

In the decision, Covello said the government had demonstrated an interest in enacting the law’s ban on certain rifles and ammunition magazines that can carry more than 10 rounds.

“Connecticut’s General Assembly made its legislative judgment concerning assault weapon and LCM possession after the mass-shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” he wrote. “The decision to prohibit their possession was premised on the belief that it would have an appreciable impact on public safety and crime prevention. The evidence suggests that there is a substantial governmental interest in restricting both assault weapons and LCMs.”

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(11) Comments

posted by: Chien DeBerger | January 30, 2014  6:28pm

John McKinney, you and the other republicans who voted for this debacle will not be forgotten in November!!

posted by: dano860 | January 30, 2014  7:21pm

....“common-sense measures”?
Who is he kidding? If these knee jerk laws are constitutional we are in deep do-do.
If they believe that these infringements of our rights will thwart a crime they are living in delusionville.
It’s a sad day in the Constitution State or should it be the Constipation State?

posted by: art vandelay | January 30, 2014  10:16pm

art vandelay

I thought Judge Covello would have been a Clinton or Obama appointee.  WRONG! He was nominated to the bench by G.H.W Bush.

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 31, 2014  8:16am

It really doesnt matter. Should we have won the state would have appealed and we didnt, so we will.

It it ends up at SCOTUS and they decide a state can do this, then some other states will follow suit and this country will finally fall apart being divided into states that are an economically richer version of the old Soviet Union, and those that thrive even more and have more state freedoms for law abiding citizens.

What bothers me is the judges comment.

“The decision to prohibit their possession was premised on the belief that it would have an appreciable impact on public safety and crime prevention. The evidence suggests that there is a substantial governmental interest in restricting both assault weapons and LCMs”

Look at the terms “premised on the belief” and “substantial government interest.”

He never says that the government was right and the evidence supported what they did because he knows it doesnt.

I would have been happier if he said that the government has an interest in this, the facts do not support it, but it’s their right to do so.

This is also dangerous language. Let’s say that there was a gay male that gave 50 people HIV. Is it appropriate for a government to have an interest in banning new gay males and those that are presently gay have to register because of the actions of one person that may cause outrage? Of course not but what is the difference between that scenario and what the judge said? 

Just because you are the government and have a premise, a belief, and an interest doesn’t make it right or legal.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | January 31, 2014  9:30am

DrHunterSThompson

Who cares? We’ve got weed!

Twist one up!

HST

posted by: Nutmeg87 | January 31, 2014  10:38am

This was always going to be appealled by either party anyways…  This guy’s comments are ridiculous…  What evidence does he have that banning a certain type of gun will make any difference…  The Navy yard shooter used a cheap shotgun, despite CNN mis-reporting AR-15 ...

It will be very interesting to see it at SCOTUS…  Many States will be watching very carefully, especially since more states loosened gun laws despite NY, CT, CO, MD…  This is a huge political nightmare for this country as allowing states to veer so far off center will create a further polarizing nation…  TX & UT vs NY & CT…

Hope this brews up right in time for elections!!!  Oppty to energize voters and take back entire Congress in Wash… and Gov of CT !!!

posted by: Chien DeBerger | January 31, 2014  10:57am

@Joebigjoe-

Well said sir!

The dear judge in his infinite wisdom also writes: “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 acknowledges the disparate treatment of citizens and violations of the Bill of Rights for the sake of public safety. The founding fathers must be turning in their graves. What is next, the right to be secure from unlawful searches and seizures in your home?

My $55.00 rebate from Danny boy will be contributed to the CCDL Litigation Fund! Semper Fi!

posted by: mmal231294 | January 31, 2014  11:22am

Sorry guys but no surprises here. Even Scalia has hinted there must be line drawn somewhere as to what “arms” are covered by the 2nd Ammdt. Are true “Machine guns” covered? .50 Cals? How about a TOW rocket? Perhaps a suitcase Nuclear weapon? What about a Mustard gas grenade? Perhaps it is the correct decision to leave it to the individual states as to where to draw that line, as the line we draw in the land of steady habits is likely to be different than the line drawn in Texas. As it should be.

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 31, 2014  2:44pm

I read some other passages of the decison.

The judge is basically saying throughout that this was a dumb law, won’t change a thing, but it was within the Constitution. It was done by politicians who wanted to show something was done in response so they look like they acted. We voted them in so they can make bad public policy law, so we need to vote them out if we want it changed as he won’t save them from their stupidity. .

Funny, that’s what most everyone has been saying from the beginning except for the Constitutional part.

If the judge had any real guts he would have said that the state can require registration of these so-called bad guns, but can’t stop the sale of them. I hate to say it but banning guns in common use and not allowing registered guns to be legally transferred, especially as part of an estate, is a very bad precedent for the 2nd amendment.

posted by: Ordinary American | February 2, 2014  10:00am

We are so sick of the Sandy Hookers ruining the quality of life in CT. After a tragedy, decent people do not attack innocent neighbors with meaningless regulation. Sandy Hook Promise is the next hate group we need to run out of the state.

posted by: Joebigjoe | February 2, 2014  4:19pm

Here is some reporting about The DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics as discussed in todays media that cares about the truth. In other words had CT News Junkie known about this they would have reported it, but MSNBC would not.

“The BJS report was released in May 2013, but was under-reported amid the push for new gun control laws. The information in it is detrimental to many of the gun control arguments which were being propounded at the time.

For instance, while Democrats in various parts of the country were pushing legislation to end the “gun show loophole,” the BJS report showed that “among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of [their] offense, less than 2 percent bought their gun at a flea market or gun show.

And a subsection of the report focused on 1997 to 2004 showed that only two percent of state inmates and three percent of federal inmates used “a military-style semiautomatic or fully automatic” in the commission of their crime.”

Very sorry about the loss the children and the teachers, but in reality the folks that push for this legislation have put their loss, albeit horrific, above the needs of the law abiding people of CT and also with their lobbying of the United States Congress, other law abiding people all over this country.