The latest gun control law in Connecticut has crossed a very frightening line. A standoff has been created between the government and tens of thousands of gun owners now considered felons. It marks the beginning of an Orwellian new phase. Gun owners saw it coming, as evidenced by their recent adoption in recent years of the defiant expression "molon labe." The phrase originated from Spartan General-King Leonidas, who reportedly responded with "Come and get them!" to Persian Emperor Xerxes' demand that the Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. The Spartans fought valiantly, but were ultimately defeated. With the prequel to the Hollywood bestselling movie 300 just released last week, Americans are now even more aware of the phrase.
Until now, gun control laws hadn't mandated the confiscation of weapons; generally, banned guns were grandfathered in under previous laws so their current owners could continue to legally own them. The Connecticut law changes all that. Passed last year in response to the Sandy Hook shooting, SB 1160 bans so-called "assault weapons" - certain rifles, more recently known as AR-15s, that have been singled out based on purely cosmetic criteria - and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The firearms have been banned based on how "scary" they look, not their actual usage in crimes. According to a study from the BATF that came out a few years ago, none of the top 10 guns used in crimes in the U.S. were so-called assault weapons; they were all pistols or revolvers. In fact, the #5 gun used in crimes was a shotgun, which Vice President Joe Biden advised Americans last year to use for self-defense.
The only way to legally retain one of these newly banned firearms or magazines in Connecticut now is to register it - but most gun owners do not want their name on a government list. They are well aware that a list of gun owners can someday be used by the government for confiscation. If gun owners didn't register their firearms or magazines prior to the December 31, 2013 deadline mandated by the legislation, their firearms will be subject to confiscation and the owners considered guilty of a felony.
So far, it appears that the vast majority of gun owners affected by the legislation did not register their guns prior to the December 31 deadline, making between 50,000 and 350,000 gun owners felons. This is frightening, considering the law doesn't just make the violation a misdemeanor, it makes it a felony, which could result in a prison sentence. Fewer than 50,000 gun owners registered their firearms by the deadline to comply with the law.
Gun owners who sent in their applications for registration after the deadline have reported already receiving letters by the government instructing them to get rid of their guns. The Hartford Courant notes that the government has records of gun owners who went through background checks in order to purchase AR-15s. The government could potentially go after any of those gun owners who failed to register their guns.
There is shock that gun owners are showing defiance. "I honestly thought from my own standpoint that the vast majority would register," said Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, the ranking GOP senator on the legislature's public safety committee. "If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don't follow them, then you have a real problem."
On January 30, Federal District Court Judge Alfred V. Covello upheld the law in Shew v. Malloy. While he admitted that it placed a substantial burden on the Second Amendment, he claimed that it "substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control." It is astonishing that a judge would use that as justification, considering even Congress sunsetted the federal assault weapons ban due to a lack of evidence showing it was effective.
Many judges come up with rulings based on their personal political views, or are pressured into a certain decision by outside special interests. Judicial activism is nothing new. Judicial activists have successfully forced a tortured, restricted interpretation of the Second Amendment over the years, in order to diminish its validity. Covello's disappointing decision is currently being appealed, backed by the powerful NRA.
Trying to prosecute 50,000 to 350,000 gun owners would be insanity. The liberal activist politicians who passed the foolish legislation in response to an emotional response to the Sandy Hook Shooting do not represent the will of the people who elected them, who want the Constitution upheld. In many ways, the Second Amendment is our most important right, because without it, we cannot protect any of our other rights. There is a reason why it is the Second Amendment, not the 30th Amendment.
Requiring gun owners to register their firearms puts them on a fast track with sex offenders, who are required to register with the government so they can be monitored for the rest of their lives. If gun owners fail to register for tracking, they are then treated like criminals, just like sex offenders. This is bizarre, considering lawful gun owners are merely patriotic Americans concerned about protecting their cherished rights. AR-15s aren't guns used in crimes, but are popular guns for self-defense and target shooting.
Connecticut Carry, a leading gun rights organization in the state, is daring the government to come after gun owners. The stage is being set for massive civil disobedience unless the law is changed. Many prosecutors and law enforcement officers are not going to uphold a law this heavy-handed; nevertheless, this ill-conceived legislation, pushed through by gun-control activists, is going to pit many law-abiding law enforcement officers against thousands of patriotic, American freedom-loving gun owners. It is terrifying that here in America, innocent gun owners would be put in the same category as sex offenders, turning them into felons. Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy (D), who signed SB 1160, seems to have become another King Xerxes. This time around, will the Spartans in Connecticut prevail?