Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy signed SB 1160 into law in Connecticut, which required all AR-15 weapons to be registered with the state. The law became effective January 1, 2014, and was in large part ignored by the citizenry. The law was immediately appealed and upheld by a federal appeals court, which provided the precise language that will cause it to be overturned. “Although it creates a substantial burden on the second amendment…” and then references public safety. The 1994 “Assault Weapon” ban was not renewed because in ten years, there was zero discernible impact on public safety. The unfortunate result of this is you now have 300,000 new felons in Connecticut. Law Enforcement Officers are now being forced to make a decision to participate in gun confiscation should the order be given.
After the appeal at the federal level, the state sent out a letter to anyone who attempted to register their rifles after the deadline instructing them to remove them from state, render them inoperable, sell them, etc. and further informed gun owners that failure to comply was now a class D felony punishable by five years in jail. The next step is gun confiscation. A number of grass roots opposition organizers are publically disobeying the law. Civil disobedience appears to be gaining traction among the citizens of Connecticut.
This has put law enforcement in a very tough predicament. From a practical perspective, they do not have the jail space to enforce the law. Adding 300,000 “criminals” to the existing state and local jails simply will not happen. Some law enforcement officials have publically stated they will not enforce the law. Others have responded more mutedly that they will. Overall this standoff is creating a significant divide between law enforcement and the citizens.
Last week this standoff came to head when Branford Police Officer Joseph Peterson posted a comment on his Facebook page claiming he would “give his left nut to bang down your (Directed at a Mr. Smith) door and come for your guns”. Everybody’s a tough guy on the Internet but in this case, it appears to have spilled over into the real world. He has since disabled his social media accounts and is reportedly under 24 hour guard due to the volume of death threats received since his statement went public. I sincerely hope that Officer Peterson’s ignorant bravado is not representative of the Branford Police Department as whole. That said violence directed toward the law enforcement community, who is being placed in a very tough position by this unconstitutional law, is not the right answer.
One Branford firefighter, also a former Navy veteran, John Cinque has become the public face of civil disobedience in Branford and Connecticut at large. He has publically stated that he is not complying with the law, and that he has no intention of complying. Since the threats directed at the Branford Police Department in general have escalated, the chief of police has asked for his assistance in calming things down. The police are reportedly drafting an apology and have asked for Mr. Cinque’s endorsement.
The NRA has filed an appeal and a request for a stay on the enforcement of the law. This is shaping up to be a very decisive case for the courts. Judicial activism at the federal level has tee’d this up for the Supreme Court. If they choose not to hear it, this is likely to become the largest case of civil disobedience since the civil rights movement. If they choose to hear it, we’ll be sitting on our hands for quite some time.
I would hate to see an order for gun confiscation given to law enforcement. While many people like Officer Peterson talk tough on the Internet, my suspicion is that more than few will follow through and actively resist attempts of gun confiscation. Not most, but certainly some. They will lose the fight, but killing otherwise law abiding Americans and law enforcement officers over an unconstitutional law seems to be a risk the governor is willing to take.
My question in all of this is, where is the national media? I haven’t heard boo from FOX, CNN or MSNBC. Sadly, I am not shocked or surprised that Kristen Bell’s panties and the drama of Oscar Pistorius sell more advertising dollars than the 300,000 newly minted felons in Connecticut who are drawing a line in the sand over our constitutional rights. I have yet to find an organization to write a check to support them save the NRA, but if I find a more local or focused group supporting these citizens, I’ll post it.
~ Patrick Henry