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Implementing Gun Bill Could Cost Up To $25M A Year

by Hugh McQuaid | Apr 4, 2013 7:30am
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Civil Liberties, Town News, Newtown, Public Safety, State Capitol

Christine Stuart photo

Rep. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, reads the bill

The legislature’s bipartisan response to the Newtown shooting could cost the state up to $25 million a year in additional prison costs based on increased penalties for certain crimes, according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis.

The bill adds mandatory minimum sentences to some crimes, increases penalties for several firearm-related offenses — including gun trafficking and illegal possession of a weapon — and reclassifies some offenses as felonies.

“To the extent that sentence lengths increase based on changes in the bill, due to increases in classification of crimes, the DOC would incur costs due to increased prison population because of longer sentences,” the bill’s fiscal note reads.

While the fiscal office estimates the department’s increased costs could reach $25.3 million a year, it notes that the actual costs will depend on how much courts increase the sentences, which may not be clear until 2017.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is expected to incur costs between $500,000 and $1.5 million next fiscal year for the creation of the gun offender registry depending on its structure and operational requirements. Additionally, it will cost about $250,000 annually to operate the database.

The bill will cost the state money in other areas as well. According to OFA, the legislation will cost the state between $16 and $17 million through the end of Fiscal Year 2015.

Between $3 million and $4 million of the additional costs will be incurred by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection for security audits, more background checks and permit requirements, and costs associated with creating and maintaining a gun offender registry.

It will also cost the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services around $8.6 million for expanded services and the development of a mental health admission database.

The Department of Children and Families will incur a cost of $1.8 million to establish behavioral health programs for children.

According to the fiscal note, the bill also authorizes $15 million in General Obligation Bonds that will cost the state $22.9 million in debt service. 

Rep. Craig Miner, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he was still reviewing the details of the bill, but he added that it would have no meaning unless the legislature’s budget accounts for the costs.

“It seems to me if you’re going to support the language of the bill you have to accept the financial obligations that go with it,” he said.

Rep. Toni Walker, co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, said Monday that the committee would need to find a way to work the bill’s expenses into the budget. Walker’s committee will introduce its budget at the end of April.

“We are going to have to have a very long conversation about how this works into the budget,” she said.

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(9) Comments

posted by: Barry bin Inhalin | April 4, 2013  7:52am

Additional costs to the state?  Democrats do not care how much anything costs, much less be concerned with a law that makes CT more like the target socialist welfare state they all revere.

posted by: Noteworthy | April 4, 2013  10:08am

Walker says there will be a very long conversation about how to work the costs into the budget. How much you want to bet, it will be a short conversation and she defaults to raising taxes, fees? Just as a side note, how can a database cost $250,000 to operate? And $1.5 million to create it? By the way, increasing mandatory minimums instead of leaving it to judges, has resulted in more drug crime incarcerations, mostly among minorities, and zero difference on the street. But hey, congratulations on adding to the prisons.

posted by: JH_1 | April 4, 2013  1:09pm

I think we all know where this is headed.  They’ll introduce new taxes on gun owners at some point to cover these expenses.

Just wait, higher ammo tax, higher tax on all guns, higher fees on permits, etc.  It’s all coming soon.

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | April 4, 2013  2:27pm

$25 million is worth it if jail is where they belong.

posted by: bgmg | April 4, 2013  3:22pm

The way I see it the whole thing is just another set of taxs. The fees for LCM’s and permits that are as stupid as can be. Gun owners are the ones that are going to pay the bill. Then wait a year or so once they have a data base of reg. firearms. They will tax gun owners per gun and it will be expensive. Alot of money for a law that changes nothing. Don’t you all feel safer already?

Hitler and Stalin would be proud of Ct right now.

posted by: Salmo | April 4, 2013  5:57pm

I woke up this AM and found myself in a foreign country. Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

posted by: TDigits | April 6, 2013  1:23pm

Simple, raise taxes. I’m sure everybody, not just gun owners, would jump at the chance to pay more taxes for all the protection we will all reap from this bill.

posted by: MasterChief | April 6, 2013  1:59pm

To Noteworthy, the cost of creating the database will be determined if new infrastructure need to be added. This includes new servers, changes to firewall rules, setting up security, etc. There’s a lot involved. It won’t be the Access DB that you have running on your home computer. This will need to be extremely robust and the architecture will need to be created to integrate it with the existing state IT. The cost to operate is primarily maintenance: cleaning up unnecessary data sets, updating the infrastructure hardware/software, etc. There will need to be dedicated support staff as well to maintain its integrity.  I’ll be very surprised if the number is low-balled. I would think it would cost a lot more than what they’re speculating.

posted by: BethyGuiles | April 6, 2013  5:20pm

The bill was approved. It’s now CT Law…Work it in the budget…get the bad guys off the streets… Mandatory 10 year prison sentence…