HARTFORD – More than 100 people gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to demand lawmakers take a softer stance on gun control.
“We’re in a space where our public servants are telling us that they know what’s best for us as opposed to serving the people,” says the founder of “Black Guns Matter”, Maj Toure, who was the keynote speaker at the rally.
The Connecticut Citizen’s Defense League (CCDL) has one message for lawmakers in Connecticut and in Congress: Give us our guns.
“We’re really here to talk about how the Second Amendment is for everybody,” says Holly Sullivan, the event’s coordinator. “And what the Second Amendment means going forward and the history of where we’ve come from.”
The gun rally also calls on the federal government to not adopt Connecticut’s gun control laws. This is after Governor Lamont and Senator Blumenthal stood on the very same Capitol steps and urged the federal government to adopt them.
“You don’t need more red flag laws when you already have laws that call for public threats against anybody,” says CCDL President, Scott Wilson. “If somebody is convicted of a felony or domestic violence; if a person is mentally unstable, they go into the federal database and they’re adjudicated right there from being able to possess guns.”
Connecticut’s ‘red flag law’ was the first one in the country. It allows police to execute what’s called a ‘high risk warrant’ if community members call the police when they suspect someone may harm others or themselves by using a gun. Last month, police in Norwalk used the law to seize illegal magazines from a 22-year-old student at CCSU, who posted about mass shootings and had a reported history of threatening to shoot people. Brandon Wagshol didn’t have a criminal record prior to his aunt calling police and letting them know her concerns with Wagshol’s interests in mass shootings.
But Scott Wilson says these laws don’t deter crime.
“That’s 72 percent of people arrested in Connecticut in the last 5 years,” says Wilson. “72 percent have not been convicted of those charges. If you have policies like that you have no deterrent for somebody to not commit crimes with firearms.”
A report done by the Office of Legislative Research shows that the majority of cases where people are arrested for illegally possessing an assault weapon or large capacity magazines are not prosecuted.
Still, David Pucino, a staff attorney at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says that the says the Connecticut red flag laws have reduced suicides with a firearm by 14% when the law is properly implemented.