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GOP Pushes To Extend Gun Registration Deadline

by | Dec 31, 2013 6:30am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Law Enforcement, Legal, Public Safety

Rep. Rob Sampson photo Several Republican lawmakers called Monday for extending the Tuesday deadline to register assault weapons in response to long lines of gun owners waiting at state police locations to comply with new firearm regulations.

The long lines have been caused by a deadline set in April when the state adopted new gun control restrictions after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The statute expanded the number of guns prohibited under Connecticut’s assault weapons ban. It gave gun owners who bought the banned guns before the change until Jan. 1 to register to keep the weapons.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday that about 25,000 Connecticut residents had registered assault weapons as of Dec. 25.

And with the deadline drawing near, gun owners who waited to register are facing long lines as they seek to file the appropriate paperwork with the state police.

On Monday, Republican lawmakers like Sen. Toni Boucher, Sen. Joe Markley, and Rep. Rob Sampson were calling on Malloy to extend the deadline to register the weapons.

But that can’t happen without a special session of the legislature, so gun owners who failed to register are out of luck once the clock strikes midnight.

“The department is going to make every effort to accommodate people who try to register firearms in advance of the deadline,” Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Malloy, said. “The requirement has been in place for six months, and the deadline is set by statute. Changing it would require action by legislature, which is a fact that I can only assume Markley and Sampson know.”

Charles Ambrosecchia of Redding said he did his best to complete the forms for registering his firearms and his ammunition, but there has been widespread confusion about what is needed to register.

In a phone interview Monday, Ambrosecchia, a trained firearm instructor, said there was nothing on the assault weapon form that says where it should be mailed. He said he reached out to the state police, but didn’t have any luck getting his questions answered.

He was too busy with work to travel to a state police headquarters in Middletown to spend the day standing in line so he sent the forms by Express Mail to the best address he could find and prayed it would get there in time.

“I hope it satisfies their vague and inaccurate requirements,” Ambrosecchia said.

“The main sources of confusion are specifically what needs to be registered and which form to fill out to declare or register certain firearms,” Sampson and Markley wrote in this letter to Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Reuben Bradford. “With added time, some clarity can be provided to gun owners trying desperately to remain law-abiding.”

Boucher said a constituent contacted the state police to find out if their registration form was received and was unable to get an answer. When Boucher’s office asked they were told: “We are currently receiving thousands of applications daily. It is not feasible to hand search for an individual application to ensure receipt. Once processed, a form letter will be sent for a Large Capacity Magazine Declaration and/or a Certificate will be sent for an Assault Weapon.”

Boucher said the explanation creates more questions because it’s unclear if the gun owner will be considered to be in compliance based on their ability to complete the form.

“What if a notary did not sign the application, but stamped it? Will the application meet the standards,” Boucher asked.

Ambrosecchia, one of Boucher’s constituents, said he is just going to hope everything he submitted is accurate and live with the consequences.

While he doesn’t believe the registration of his weapons will make the state any safer, Ambrosecchia said he’s invested too much money in them to risk having them confiscated.

There are some gun owners in Connecticut who have decided to rebel by not registering their weapons in protest.

But the law includes serious penalties for failure to register the equipment. Charges for possessing one of the banned guns after the deadline could range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony. Connecticut residents convicted of felonies are ineligible to own firearms.

Despite the long lines, Malloy said he believed the changes have gone well.

“This has been a very successful program. It’s been executed relatively well . . . I want to be very clear, I’m sorry for the lines but registration has been relatively uneven,” he said Monday. “. . . Some people put things off till the last minute.”

Malloy compared waiting until this week to register weapons to shopping at the last minute before Christmas. He said he put himself in that camp.

“I’m one of those guys who did a little shopping on [December] 24th. I had to face long lines as well, but I understood that if I went home without any packages I was in a lot bigger trouble. If you go home without being in that line to register your gun, you’re probably going to be in some amount of trouble,” he said.

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(7) Archived Comments

posted by: Chien DeBerger | December 31, 2013  8:24am

Why doesn’t Malloy just make a unilateral declaration extending the deadline? I mean his idol Obama has done this with the ACA and no one is complaining of this power grab.

posted by: art vandelay | December 31, 2013  10:24am

art vandelay

No way are the Democrats ever going to capitulate to the Republicans on this issue.  If the Democrats had it their way they would confiscate every gun in this state.

posted by: CharlesA | December 31, 2013  11:17am

Chien, I totally agree with you and that is what I politely requested in an email to the Governor. This is the usual disorganized mess that comes up when somebody rushes to enact a feel good useless law. Obviously the true deadline was the actual purchase date. Since, no more “banned weapons” have been sold and this is merely paperwork.
Note that on the High capacity magazine form the address for mailing is clearly spelled out, yet on the “assault weapon” form there is NO ADDRESS but it clearly states to mail it in. There is the option to provide an affidavit in liu of proof of purchase, yet no form for that is present nor do they offer one. They DO NOT answer the phone. I wrote to the Governor, his assistant called me informing me to expect a return call from someone “for sure” because she “emailed the commissioner’s executive assistant”... well NOBODY called back. Clearly the Governor’s office is as effective as the rest of the process. Let’s learn from Colorado and RECALL ineffective political leaders. This was a complete waste of taxpayer’s money, an incredible inconvenience on law abiding citizens and an exercise in patience. I hope that Toni Bucher runs for Governor, we need the nonsense conservative approach back in office rather than the “popularity contest” leaders that we have.

posted by: Lawrence | December 31, 2013  6:22pm

I have no sympathy for these guys. If they spent 1/100th of the time they do setting up trail cams, scouting deer runs and food plots, purchasing new clothes and tree stands, sighting in their rifles, and plinking at the gun club, they could have mailed their application in months ago!

Why are they standing in line?

This is not a surprise. The law was passed in April. You guys need to show the public how intelligent and responsible you are, not how lazy and/or ill-tempered you are. Good grief.

And to Sen. Boucher, who is worried if a notary signed an application but didn’t stamp it—it’s called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. You voted for all the new laws in the gun bill, you should know what is required of citizens, and so should the gun owner! The form CLEARY STATES the notary must sign AND affix their seal. It is UP TO THE GUN OWNER TO ENSURE THIS IS DONE. My goodness, it’s child’s play! You mean to tell me someone can carry cocked and locked for 18 hours a day but they can’t look at a form and see what is required? It’s mind-numbing.

From what I am reading, there are about 30,000 so-called “assault weapons” now registered. I bet 99% were registered with no problems, but 1% = 300 complaints and pictures of people standing in line.
That’s not a reason to call for a special session and an extended timeline.

And finally, to those who complain there is “no address” to mail the form to—Um, where did you show up to register your rifle? Yes, at SPHQ firearms licensing unit on Country Club Road. Just like it says at the bottom of the page where you click to download your registration form.

Guys, I get your frustration on a number of levels, but filling out this form, having it notarized and mailing it in takes very little time. Coulda been done months ago, before Halloween or Vet’s Day. Complaining just makes you look silly.

posted by: StillRevolting | December 31, 2013  8:20pm

Happy New Year!! Malloy has told them to get in line or be felons tomorrow. Lawlor has suggested they get rid of anything they can’t (ok, haven’t bothered to if you prefer) register before tomorrow because they certainly don’t want to get caught with it and, for what? We certainly aren’t any safer. Speaking of tomorrow, many coverage changes take effect at midnight, so, if we take the millions of health care cancellations taking place and subtract the number of folks who have signed up through the ACA, we have a net loss of coverage for millions of Americans as a result of the ACA. My hope for 2014 is that the electorate realizes that forward at any cost is going to cost us too much. Forward in a well thought out manner is a far better option and the Progressives simply are not meeting that standard.

posted by: Noteworthy | January 1, 2014  12:40am

Law abiding citizens are spending more time and money registering their guns and getting permission slips to buy ammunition than the sum total of all of Adam Lanza’s time in therapy and taking or not taking his meds. Explain again why this is all necessary to keep “Sandy Hook from ever happening again.”

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 1, 2014  11:54am

Lawrence:  The moral of your contention appears to be that people are not always timely and proficient—but like to complain.  What else is new?  Don’t worry so much and enjoy a Happy New Year!

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