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Conn. can try to confiscate guns, magazines, but threatened owners have options

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Update 9:51 AM (CST), 2/27/2014: There is now some question of the validity of the reported letter. St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner regrets and apologizes for any confusion caused by dissemination of insufficiently vetted information.

Update 6:00 PM (CST), 2/27/2014: Gun Digest has updated their article questioning the veracity of the letter, and now seem to believe that at least the gist of the original story is true. The current thinking is that the published letter is an early draft, but substantially similar to what some Connecticut gun owners will be receiving, if they have not already.

The Connecticut government has written threatening letters to hundreds of residents who attempted to comply with the state's draconian new "assault weapon" and "high capacity" magazine ban/registration law (a complete ban, but with a "grandfather" clause for those who owned the "illegal" items before the ban--if they registered them by January 1), but who missed the deadline for doing so, and are thus now on government record as owning the "contraband," but are not considered to have properly registered it. Ammoland.com quotes the letter these "criminals" are reportedly receiving (excerpt):

We are returning your application for assault weapon certificate and/or large capacity magazine declaration because it was not received or postmarked prior to January 1, 2014 as required by law.

As a result, you have the following options for your assault weapon per Public Act 13-3, as amended by Public Act 13-220:

  1. Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable;
  2. Sell the assault weapon to a licensed gun dealer;
  3. Remove the assault weapon from the state; or
  4. You may make arrangements to relinquish the assault weapon to a police department or to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Identical options are offered for the "large capacity" magazines.

What, though, about those who refuse all four of those options--all four, in other words, of the legal options? The Journal Inquirer explains:

Those who fail to do so could face serious criminal penalties.

Once people realize they can’t keep the guns and magazines, “they’re going to get rid of them,” Michael P. Lawlor, the undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, says.

The "serious criminal penalties" involve a Class D felony, punishable by five years in prison. As Mike Vanderboegh notes, though, that last part is a "bold prediction" on Lawlor's part.

In Connecticut, owners of these guns and/or magazines can be broken down into three categories. There are some who complied, either by getting rid of their life and liberty preserving firepower, or by enduring the additional indignity of waiting in long lines in the cold to register the newly designated "contraband." There are those who quietly answered the Connecticut government with an upraised middle finger, and kept their guns and magazines, without making any attempt to register them--and to the shock of the nanny-state collectivists, this group appears to number in the scores of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. And finally, there are those who as mentioned above, tried to register, but were too late.

That last group is clearly in the least tenable predicament. The Connecticut jackboot wearers know they have the "illegal" guns, or at least did quite recently, and know that they are not registered, thus exposing the owners to felony charges and a five-year prison sentence.

With the Connecticut government having no reason to suspect the first group of any crime, they are in a less precarious position than the last--for now. The problem is that the gun ban zealots clearly despise the "grandfather" clause, and if they can at some time in the future get the votes, will be ecstatic to make the band retroactive, and thus confiscatory, and the "authorities" will know just where the newly "illegal" guns are.

The strongest position by far is held by the second group--the one that defied the new law. As discussed before, that group is likely to retain their guns--and their liberty--longer than either of the other two.

Still, all need not be lost for the last group--the obedient, but tardy, attempted registrants. The letter might be intimidating, but just how much does Connecticut have with which to back it up? If the recipients of the letter do nothing, and the state decides to push the issue, what can they do? How many judges would be willing to issue search warrants?

The "illegal" owners, after all, could have chosen any of the first three of the four offered choices, to get rid of (or disable) the evil guns/magazines, and the state would have no idea. For all the state knows, that's exactly what they did. In other words, it is difficult to see how this could be anything more than another bluff on Connecticut's part, and if the recipients of the letter choose to call that bluff, just as the scores of thousands of those who never tried to register did, the confiscationists would seemingly have hit a brick wall.

Up yours, Connecticut.

Update: Mike Vanderboegh has some pointed advice for the Connecticut legislators who inflicted this legislative abomination on the state.

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