.

Constitutional: Federal Court Upholds Connecticut Gun Law

While gun control advocates celebrate the news, those who brought forth the suit say this is far from over.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
A federal judge Thursday dismissed a claim that has been at the heart of the gun control debate in Connecticut — that a state law banning assault weapons violates rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment.

"While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control," U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello writes in his 47-page decision, upholding the legality of the state's law.

The law, which is considered among the toughest in the nation, was enacted last year in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook School that left 20 students and six educators dead.

In a statement issued late Thurday, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said, “The court made the right decision today. The common-sense measures we enacted last session will make our state safer, and I am grateful for the court’s seal of approval."

The office of Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen provided the arguments in defense of the constitutionality of the law.

"We are heartened by Judge Covello’s ruling that has reaffirmed consistent rulings in other jurisdictions that banning military style assault weapons in the interest of public safety does not constitute an infringement of Second Amendment rights," Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV), said.

CAGV, along with its partner group March for Change, lobbied for the law in the wake of the shooting in Newtown.

'This is a Long Way From Over'

Brian T. Stapleton, a New York-based attorney who represented the plaintiffs, told the Hartford Courant:

"This is a long way from over. We respect Judge Covello, but respectfully disagree with him. An appeal was anticipated in this case. There are findings that we can work with and we are going to do everything we can to get this overturned." 

In his statement, Malloy said, “Let’s not forget that this has happened before.  In prior instances when Connecticut has passed related firearms laws, there have been similar challenges and they have all been unsuccessful.”

A Renewed Call for Stricter Federal Gun Laws

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) applauded the court's decision, too. In a statement released Friday, the Congresswoman said, “Connecticut led the nation by enacting comprehensive legislation that respects Americans’ Second Amendment rights and makes our communities safer. This decision is an important step forward in addressing the epidemic of gun violence."

Earlier this week, Esty joined U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) in introducing a resolution that calls for renewed congressional action to address what she characterized as "the ever-growing impact of gun violence on American communities." 

Congress failed to enact new gun laws last year, despite a push from President Barack Obama, who visited Newtown in the days after the shooting.

“When more than 30 people die every single day by gun violence, our country needs to do more. It’s time for Congress to listen to the overwhelming majority of Americans who support reform and pass comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation," Esty said. "The price of political inaction is unacceptable and inexcusable.”

Paul Alexander January 31, 2014 at 06:56 PM
This judge is far down the judicial food chain. CT's gun laws will be reviewed at multiple higher levels...eventually SCOTUS. While that process is taking place Don't Comply.
CAGV Dissenter January 31, 2014 at 08:28 PM
Uh, the judge ruled and common sense prevailed.
Paul Alexander January 31, 2014 at 08:46 PM
Ha! One, low level judge ruled. This is going to SCOTUS where the legal spanking of Connecticut's legislators will be EPiC! Don't comply until SCOTUS rules!
Eric Clawson January 31, 2014 at 09:56 PM
..."Uh, the judge ruled and common sense prevailed". Does that sit on the same level of when a judge ruled that slavery was legal. Point is, judges make mistakes and can be overturned. And, in this day and age, "Common Sense" seems to be a code word for partisan demagoguery.
David Stowe February 01, 2014 at 06:43 AM
Partisan? Judge Cavello is a republican. Keeping our communities safer is not a partisan issue. And nice advice Mr Alexander encourage your fellow citizens to disobey the law. Are you willing to face the legal consequences for anyone who heeds your advice?
Thomas Crafts February 01, 2014 at 07:33 AM
In the meantime everybody's still got their guns. 5-4 against CT is how its going to turn out.
Mark Toscano February 01, 2014 at 08:18 AM
What in the world do you need an assault weapon for. There is no logical reason to own one. Have you learned nothing, these types of weapons are designed to kill people and lots of them in a short amount of time. They are for military use. Also a gangbanger can just go to your house and steal it from you which puts more of the assault weapons in the wrong hands. There are thousands of guns stolen every year that are unreported.
Thomas Crafts February 01, 2014 at 09:25 AM
That's your opinion. If the gangbanger comes to my house and I have no weapon, I'm going to turn into Dr. Petit. If you want to be Dr. Petit go right ahead. Don't tell me how to protect my home and family.
Clare February 01, 2014 at 10:29 AM
Cry me a river
passing through February 01, 2014 at 10:55 AM
mark, do you believe there is a contingency of gangbangers here in newtown that we must wory about breaking into our homes and stealing our guns?
passing through February 01, 2014 at 10:58 AM
also mark, why do you need a vehicle that can go speeds above 40 miles per hour? 40 miles per hour is an acceptable and safe rate of speed for a vehilce, and to want to go faster than that is dangerous and selfish, endangering lives of the innocent on our roads. you have a vehicle that can go speeds above 40 mph because you want one. there is our second amendment point. freedom, sir.
Paul Alexander February 01, 2014 at 04:50 PM
How much fun would it be to rummage through Mark's home asking why he needed all the legal things in his home that make no sense to ME!
Paul Alexander February 01, 2014 at 04:59 PM
David Stowe said.... "And nice advice Mr Alexander encourage your fellow citizens to disobey the law."..........Dave, you mean like the environmental bully's are about to do over the Keystone Pipeline? And probably violently too!!! I'm just typing a few words on a website.
Eric Clawson February 01, 2014 at 08:17 PM
David Stowe: You said, "Partisan? Judge Cavello is a republican. Keeping our communities safer is not a partisan issue. And nice advice Mr Alexander encourage your fellow citizens to disobey the law. Are you willing to face the legal consequences for anyone who heeds your advice?" I was referring to the use of the word, "Common Sense" where partisan politics are usually involved. Yet you decided to throw the "Republican" identifier in there. You do know what "Partisan" means, don't you? How does a judges (incorrect) ruling keep a community safe? Is it by taking defensive weapons away from law abiding citizens that have no intention of hurting anyone with? Or are the police the only ones who can be trusted with such firearms? If a judge wants to keep a community safer, they should do away with any and all "Gun Free Zones". God knows that sign on the window of the school didn't stop Lanza.
Eric Clawson February 01, 2014 at 08:37 PM
Mark Toscano: You said, "What in the world do you need an assault weapon for. There is no logical reason to own one. Have you learned nothing, these types of weapons are designed to kill people and lots of them in a short amount of time. They are for military use. Also a gangbanger can just go to your house and steal it from you which puts more of the assault weapons in the wrong hands. There are thousands of guns stolen every year that are unreported." In your estimation, what is an "Assault Weapon"? Have you ever studied Etymology (study of words)? Shall we break it down here and now? What is Assault? In the legal definition, it is an action or actual or perceived threat of some type of threatening action which causes the victim to be fearful. Basically, "Assault" is a verb or an action. How can a rifle that is not loaded or even held by a human elicit an action just for the mere reason of existing? Now, look at the word, "Weapon". What is a weapon? Is it a rock, a stick, a hammer, a wrench, a pistol, a rifle or a car? It all depends on how that inanimate object is used or wielded. Then, we have to consider the fact of how that weapon is utilized. Is it presented in an offensive manner or a defensive manner? Now, you say there is no "Logical reason to own one". That is subjective and elitist to say. Who are you to determine what an American has a right to possess? One may choose not to obtain one for self defense in an urban setting but that is a personal choice that you or no other should impart on another citizen. When you say that, "They are for military use", I assume that you are referring to the AR-15. Well, the AR-15 (available to the general public) are only semi-automatic by design. Since I served in the military and am a current police officer, I should tell you that the military and police rifles have the capability of select fire (meaning they can shoot both semi-auto and full auto/three round burst). The military would not limit themselves to semi-auto only. Yet, the citizens of this country can only possess the semi version (unless they pay the tax stamp and 25G for a full auto with the blessing of the local Sheriff). Gangbangers don't use rifles. It is too hard to conceal under their hoodies. They conceal pistols in their waistband.
Eric Clawson February 01, 2014 at 08:56 PM
Mark Toscano: You have been deceived by a liberal media and a progressive ideology. When you use the word, "Assault Weapon", you are buying into the "Chicken-Little" mentality. That term was invented in the late 80's from some liberal bastion in California. The inventor of the term was playing off of the classification of "Fully Automatic" military rifle created by the Nazi/German army in 1942. It was called the "Sturmgrewehr" which, translated, means: Storm Rifle. Hitler, looking for an infantry rifle to compete against the American "M1 Garand" had his engineers develop and create the Sturmgrewehr. It was a fully automatic, magazine fed, gas operated, intermediate caliber, infantryman carried weapon. It was revolutionary but the use of fully automatic proved to be highly inaccurate. So, when liberals assign such a moniker to a semi-automatic rifle, it is done so only to denigrate the modern sporting rifle (the AR-15). Don't be a sheep. Lift that veil of lies and misdirection from your eyes.
Eric Clawson February 01, 2014 at 09:50 PM
Dumm Koph: You said, "how many children must your weapons be capable of slaughtering, so that it makes you feel like a big, brave hombre?" My weapon(s) have never slaughtered anyone, let alone an innocent child. My weapon(s) is/are for defense of my family so they don't get slaughtered. But, you must know that already. You are just trolling. I've set my weapon(s) down on the range table with a box of round right next to it. Not once, has it ever loaded itself and started firing without my permission. So, your theory of weapons slaughtering people is incongruous. It is the person wielding any weapon that controls it.
passing through February 02, 2014 at 02:24 PM
here's an idea- if we just put a sign out front that says 'gun free zone', that will keep it safe, right?

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something