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Strengthening Gun Laws

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This article will explore existing statutes which cover the sale and use of guns, using the laws of the state of Connecticut as examples of  current law in effect.

People purchasing firearms  in Connecticut must have valid proof of residence in the United States, submit an affidavit attesting to the completion of a safety training course, provide fingerprints and mental health records and pay the requisite registration fee.

There would appear to be good control over the purchase and sale of firearms;
however, this control should be subject to a rigorous audit and review on a
continuous basis. The continuing monitoring of compliance under this law is unclear.

Persons buying handguns in Connecticut either from a dealer or private party must complete a DPS-3 form. This form lists the purchaser and seller data. There are 4 copys generated. The buyer and seller keep a copy, one goes to the Department of Public Safety and one goes to the police authority where the purchaser lives. Second hand sales of rifles and shotguns between non-dealers have no paperwork involved. This is an area of the law which can be strengthened.

Whole classes of people are barred from acquiring firearms. For instance, people convicted of illegal possession of controlled substances are barred under Conn. 21a-279(c). There are other numerous disqualifying criteria, such as people convicted of criminally negligent homicide, assault in the third degree, riot in the first degree and stalking. The only remaining question is how the state monitors this portion of the law for continuing compliance.

In 1999, the legislature in Connecticut passed a law that requires retail stores selling firearms to provide minimum training to the employees. The training and certification requirements are set forth in Public Act 99-212 (Section 6): C.G.S. 29-37f.

Law enforcement and military personnel are allowed to possess an assault weapon for official duties. People who move to Connecticut with an assault weapon must either render the weapon inoperable, sell it to an out-of-state dealer or relinquish the weapon to local law enforcement. Continued possession of an assault weapon can lead to a felony arrest. The requirement to render the weapon inoperable could be a potential loophole in the law which should be closed.

Generally, people convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence involving the use of physical force or a weapon are barred from possession of a firearm in Connecticut as are people under the age of 21. Again, monitoring this provision of the law for compliance is a continuing challenge.

The only practical way to monitor for compliance issues is to compare database

gun registries to criminal records maintained by police and the statewide court
systems. This is a considerable task which will require more sophisticated computer software, as well as audit and funding by local, state and federal governments. The same type of audit verification must be performed between the gun database registries and applicable mental health databases.

In addition, the periodic gun license renewals should require gun owners to
declare by affidavit  the classes of guns owned currently, as well as the number of people in the household and those who are under the age of 21. Gun owners should disclose what precautions they have taken to restrict access to their guns.

The states could consider linking the Department of Motor Vehicles licensing
procedure with the gun license so that police could be aware of a gun owner’s
status at the time cars are stopped routinely. This simple control could provide an important check point to limit gun crimes involving the use of an auto.

The control over guns is an issue which requires continuing vigilance by law
enforcement, state gun licensing agencies and federal authorities. Another
potential control would be to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance,
as is done with automobiles. The involvement of an insurer would provide a very significant review procedure on an ongoing basis. In addition, discounts could be provided for attending continuing education for gun owners in the same way motorists receive discounts for periodically attending classes.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.
  • Baronius

    These restrictions seem reasonable.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I agree, although it should be noted that none of them prevented the tragedy at Newtown.

    Along with the automobile, the gun is probably the most lethal piece of machinery in general public use, and as such, I don’t see why there can’t be a mandatory proficiency test which must be passed in order to legally use one, as there is in the case of driving.

    Yes, there are still thousands of terrible drivers on the roads notwithstanding, but they have at least in theory been educated on how to operate a motor vehicle responsibly.

  • Baronius

    I’d have no problem with a militia – a decent number of people trained with firearms and licensed to carry anywhere. Start with ex-military, emergency responders, definitely teachers, pretty much anyone who’s willing. Mandatory annual recertification. You want to keep a gun on your property, or for hunting, that’s your business, but if you want to carry it in public, you have to be approved.

    I think you’re right that none of the regulations would have stopped the Connecticut shooting, but that should tell us that it was more a mental health problem than a gun control problem.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I think that’s plainly so, Baronius. If you know anything about the pathology of mental illness you’ll be aware that sufferers’ paranoia tends to focus on themes that feature prominently in popular culture, such as gods, UFOs and malevolent governments. In the US, sadly, that list includes the depiction of guns as a universal solution to problems: a perception that features prominently in the gun lobby, many of whose leaders have gone on record suggesting that the widespread arming of the populace would prevent incidents like Sandy Hook.

  • Baronius

    Yeah, but how much exposure does the average person have to the gun lobby? The depiction of guns is primarily in movies, TV, and video games. Politics is downstream from culture, as they say, and the programmers of Call of Duty have more influence on the American mind than the NRA does. They probably have a bigger budget, too. This most recent shooter – if the NRA didn’t exist, would he have still heard about guns?

    As for widespread arming, it sounds ridiculous, but the truth is that mass shootings happen mainly in places where guns aren’t allowed. Schools, malls, some workplaces, theaters. Part of that is due to categorization: a shooting doesn’t get labelled “mass” if the killer gets dropped quickly. Part of that, though, is the attraction of a high body count. I read that there were four theaters 10 minutes away from the Aurora shooter’s place, and he chose the one that had a “no guns” policy.

    And anyway, if the body count is truly lower because people shoot back in legal-carry places, that itself is evidence of the benefit of gun availability.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, I’m saying that the gun lobby, or at least part of it, has itself bought into the perception of guns as a universal problem-solver, not that they are responsible for that perception.

    Hollywood has to carry the can for it a lot of the way, obviously, although it didn’t originate in Tinseltown. It probably goes back to the old penny westerns: hero-fantasies that grabbed the imagination with incredible success. Realist writers like Stephen Crane and Jack London certainly pushed back against the myth, but it was too strong.

    Nobody wants to get shot back at if they are going on a shooting spree, so the statistic about such incidents happening mostly in gun-free zones is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m not convinced there’s enough justification for arming everyone to the teeth at all times on the off-chance that a maniac might pay a visit. Sounds a lot like strip-searching Grandma at the airport on the off-chance that she might be al-Qaeda’s latest ingenious superweapon.

    The number one problem with the “killer wouldn’t have succeeded if everyone had been packing” argument, though, for me, is the unspoken assumption that the good guy gets his shot in first. That’s not by any means a given.

  • zingzing

    guns: not the cause of, but solution to, mass shootings. mm-mmm.

  • Baronius

    Hey, if the good guy gets his shot in third, that means there were only two innocent victims. If it takes the police a few minutes to arrive on the scene, they’re going to get their shots in 20th.

    The romanticization of guns probably goes back to The Three Musketeers. But we’ve romanticized everyone from Wyatt Earp to The Terminator. Is your big worry really that the gun lobby has bought into it? Seriously? Do you think that the gun lobby would have been circumspect about guns otherwise?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Hey, if the good guy gets his shot in third, that means there were only two innocent victims.

    Not if the first shot hits the good guy. That outcome seldom seems to occur to the advocates of the guns-for-all hypothesis.

  • Baronius

    That’s because it doesn’t happen in real life. At some point you have to take real life into account. Maybe if we had more people carrying firearms then the mass murderers would target them first, but that hasn’t happened in real life. In Connecticut, when the sirens got close, the shooter killed himself.

  • Igor

    The NRA is a lobbying outfit that pushes guns on the gullible who believe that guns will somehow protect them from violence (when I was a lad the NRA was a tiny outfit that handed out cheap pulp paper targets for rifle practice).

    It’s all about money. Money money money. It’s 100% American. By peddling their particular brand of hysteria the NRA gets people to buy more guns.

    By jumping on the publicity bandwagon and demanding more guns in schools Wayne LaPierre is stoking up demand for guns. Oh, and incidentally, assured the future murder of children. Oh well, it’s just collateral damage in Americas commercial wars.

  • Baronius

    Opinion.

  • Igor

    Wayne LaPierre is smarter than any of us.

    When there’s a mass murder like Sandy Hook, the paranoid stock up on more guns, making them easily available to their nutty relatives (just as Ms. Lanza bought guns so her nutty son could impulsively grab them and go commit mayhem).

    Thus, the more murders the more sales of guns, and then even more murders. It’s a wonderful marketing situation. Wayne can’t lose!

  • Baronius

    Novel theory. How does it explain that crime is on the decline?

  • Igor

    Ordinary crime is unrelated to mass murder.

  • Igor

    Immediately after Sandy Hook there was a huge bump in gun sales, thus fueling the households of nuts for future mass killings.

  • troll

    …have to ask Clavos if his economic handler got him into Remington in a timely fashion

    runs for cover smiling

  • Baronius

    So was #13 referring to murders or mass murders? Murders are on the decline, but mass murders are (probably) steady. But then, gun ownership is on the decline. But multiple gun ownership is on the increase. And I haven’t seen any evidence that suggests the relationship you’re talking about.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    The romanticization of guns probably goes back to The Three Musketeers.

    IIRC Porthos, Athos, Aramis and d’Artagnan preferred swords, fists and wits to guns, the name of their regiment notwithstanding, and the romanticization was of the characters themselves rather than their weapons.

    Prior to the emergence of the Western genre in the late 19th century I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a literary reference to guns that isn’t in the context of their plain purpose as a tool for hunting, warfare or self-defence. At most the author would distinguish whether the gun was a pistol or a musket. There were no loving descriptions of the make of the gun, how it felt in the hand, its finish, its provenance, its mechanical action, the type of ammunition it fired, its muzzle velocity, what happened when the target was hit etc.

  • http://www.lunch.com/JSMaresca-Reviews-1-1.html Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    The media video game producers could do something about reducing gun violence in the games that they promote.

  • Igor

    Gee, if Wayne LaPierre gets his way and more people have weapons, maybe I should get one myself! In the name of self-defense, of course.

    Of course, at 75 my reflexes have slowed a lot so I better get off an early shot, and with my shaky trigger finger I better get off several shots.

    I recall seeing a big burly tough-looking redneck at a Starbucks once with a modern pistol at the ready in a waist holster. I remember wondering if I’d have the courage to protest if he line-jumped ahead of me. Would I dare to remonstrate? It would certainly be easier if I had a proper defensive weapon in my computer bag. Like that .410 5 shot revolver I read about in “Guns and Ammo” in the dentists office. I’d have a deer slug (for stopping power) in the first chamber under the hammer for speed, and 00 buckshot in the others for general mayhem. That way if he demurred and I thought he was making a move I could whip out my Betsy and catch him before he could fire (at my age I need every advantage over a big young guy who probably practices). Then I’d empty the other 4 cylinders of buckshot into him to make sure he couldn’t come back (“Guns and Ammo” is full of stories about guys who continue to attack even when shot!)

    I’ll claim self-defense. I was standing my ground. I’m old and feeble so I was frightened. I’m sorry for his family, and sorry about the collateral damage to other customers.

    Sorry.

  • Igor

    I just looked it up! That .410 pistol is the “Taurus Judge”! Apparently it’s popular with Miami judges.

    It has a variety of barrels. The 6″ barrel makes a better impression but the 3″ barrel is easier to whip out of your pants!

  • Deano

    I’ve noted the people keep bringing up the fact that schools etc. are targeted because they are gun-free zones and so, full of easy targets.

    This is a bit of logical leap – you are assuming that the shooter makes his target determination on the basis of it being a weapons-free zone. Shooters pick their targets for reasons associated with their pathology, not due to the absence of firearms. Schools are picked because the shooter is often young, often a student and has a significant social association with the school environment. This is the aspect that likely draws them, not the absence of guns, but the social and pyschological impact. The majority of school shootings do not occur because they are perceived as easy targets but because the school is the central social experience of the shooter.

    No one automatically assumes workplace spree killers are shooting up their workplace because “its a gun-free zone” – they do it because that is the central environment they inhabit, the place where their pathology draws them.

    Whether the school is “gun-free” or not is irrelevant.

  • clavos

    I think most people making the “gun-free” point are pointing out not that the gunmen chose their targets on that basis, but rather that, because they are gun-free, those being attacked have no possibility of being able to defend themselves.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Come now, Clavos – where is there any indication that the targets were chosen because they were gun-free? There is none.

    Time to remember that little correlation/causation fallacy, y’know? Gotta be careful what you teach those whom you oppose, y’know….

    If we’re talking about Newtown, it is more like likely that they were chosen because they were the students of the mother that he also killed.

    There is no indication of which I’m aware that ANY mass murderer has ever chosen his targets due to their lack of ability to resist.

  • Zingzing

    Glenn, I think you misread clavos there…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yeah, it looks like I did….

    GOT to be more careful….

  • http://www.lunch.com/JSMaresca-Reviews-1-1.html Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    We need the same kind of bureaucracy over guns as we have over autos; namely, registration renewals, inspections and insurance companies providing basic liability insurance.

  • Igor

    Welcome to Blogcritics “Gun talk”!

    I’m switching my choice of personal weapon from the Taurus Judge to the Bond Arms Snake Slayer. Like the Judge, the Snake Slayer takes .410 shotgun loads as well as .45, but since it’s a Derringer style (over under) it weighs considerably less (about 20 oz. vs. 32) and is quite flat for better concealment.

    Which loads to use is a question, but many writers recommend a load of 7 1/2 birdshot in the first barrel, with a .45 in the second. That way if an aspiring carjacker approaches the birdshot in the face oughta discourage him (or even kill or blind the guy). Experts advise a horizontal waist holster for easy draw or just carrying the Snake Slayer on the seat next to you.

    I’m kinda afraid to test fire that Beast for fear of breaking my 75 year old elbow, and would probably await an actual threat. But I can probably test fire with light low-brass loads.

    But if any mystery character saunters up to my car he’s likely to get a nasty surprise. Maybe he was just trying to sell me a dozen roses. Oh well. I’ll plead innocent. I’m at least as innocent as George Zimmerman or Johannes Mehserle.

    And if it’s a mistake I’ll apologize profusely to the family: that should fix it up. Right?

    I’m sorry. I was just standing my ground. Sorry.

    Thanks for visiting “Gun Talk”.

  • clavos

    Why apologize? The guy never should have approached you.

  • Igor

    Welcome to BlogCritics “Gun Talk”!

    Just in case there’s any problem getting the gun a guy wants, you may be able to use that “3D Printer”. No kidding. That thing makes a prototype from engineering drawings. I saw on TV where they made a complete AK-47 (though they had to add a couple available steel parts), and it actually worked for a few shots before it came apart!

    Wow! No more worries about anti-gun laws!

    And if you just want to go down to the Mall and off some citizens before you eat a cop bullet, what the heck! You don’t need any more than that!

    Thanks for visiting “Gun Talk”. Come on back, y’all.

  • Igor

    I predict that Gabby Giffords new PAC for gun laws will be a turning point in US gun laws.

    She’s an experienced politician with excellent contacts, and she promises to raise money to counter the blandishments of the NRA.

    This may be the biggest threat ever to the NRAs power base.

  • Dr Joseph S. Maresca

    Assault rifles have no place in the civilian population-period.