Report: Some Fear Gun Seizure Requests Will Spike After Newtown

The New Haven Register takes a close look at Connecticut's gun seizure law formed in 1999.


Since 1999, the state has seized more than 2,000 weapons from Connecticut gun owners under a law meant to protect people from harming themselves and/or others.   

The New Haven Register takes an in-depth look at that law today and says some believe the Newtown tragedy will likely cause gun seizures to spike.

According to the state Office of Legislative Research: "State law allows police, after investigating and determining probable cause, to get a court warrant and seize guns from anyone posing an imminent risk of harming himself or someone else. A judge must hold a hearing within 14 days after the seizure and order the police to hold the guns for up to one year or return them. The judge (1) must, when assessing probable cause, consider recent acts of violence, threatening, or animal cruelty and (2) may, when assessing imminent risk, consider such factors as reckless gun use or display, violent threats, alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, and prior involuntary psychiatric confinement."

The Register says that proponents say the law has saved lives, and that if more people knew about it, the law could save more. However, people such as attorney Rachel Baird of Torrington, whom the Register says has represented clients who have had guns seized under the law, told the newspaper she believes more complaints will be filed because of Newtown and that people who own firearms "are subject to more scrutiny."

Gun control, and keeping guns out of the hands of unstable people, has been on the minds of people across the world since the Sandy Hook school massacre on Dec. 14. Here in Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the formation of a committee last week that will look at ways to improve public safety, particularly in schools, and will determine if changes are warranted in the areas of mental health treatment and gun control.

Gun control laws, such as the seizure ban and state laws regarding gun registration and the amount of ammunition one can purchase, will be closely scrutinized by the committee.

"I think it's time we have a realistic discussion about the weapons that are being used time and time again in these mass causality situations," Malloy said. "I mean it would be stupid not to have that conversation." 

Matt Bracksieck January 08, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Not long after the immediate shock and horror of what happened at Sandy Hook wore off did the gun control debate start up again. It is an understandable reaction to try to have some control over what seems like an unfathomable action… to try to wrestle unmanageable grief into something that can be dealt with. My own personal beliefs regarding gun control have been the same long before this tragedy and will remain consistent long after Sandy Hook begins to heal. My beliefs are based on the purpose of the tools available to us. Opponents to gun control will say that a gun is just a tool and so in the hands of the right person it is useful. Guns don't kill people, people kill people and if there was no gun there would just be another way to kill. As a piece of technology, the gun is a tool, but there are a wide variety of guns each with it's own purpose. A hunting rifle may be appropriate in some places as a useful tool, but what is the purpose of the .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle with the extended capacity clip, the 10mm Glock or the 9mm Sig Sauer? Those weapons serve only to kill human beings.
Matt Bracksieck January 08, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Part 2: I read in the New York Times about the weapons carried by the gunman and what he did with the tools legally available to him because his mother was a "gun enthusiast." And I think of the comments I have seen: the man was deranged and would have found another way to kill; if he wanted the guns badly enough, he would have been able to get them illegally; this is the mother's fault for not securing the guns properly; if there was someone armed in the school, maybe this wouldn't have happened. These excuses all seem hollow to me because in the end what is being excused is the right to own a tool with no purpose other than to kill other human beings. Neither do I find any logic in the argument that if we ban guns because people die then we should also ban cars because of the deaths they cause, ban knives because they can be used as weapons, etc. My support for gun control goes back to purpose--there is no purpose for handguns or semiautomatic weapons other than to kill human beings. There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of gun owners are careful and responsible with their tools. But it is time that we as a society acknowledge that without gun control we are saying that we accept a tool which has no purpose other than to kill other human beings as a normal piece of our society and that this is who we are. It is time to find another hobby.
Shootingsports January 10, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Are you a firearm owner? Hunter? I am, and have used my AR-10 for that purpose. A fast follow up shot is sometimes needed to humanely take game. I agree that measures need to be taken to keep these tools out of criminal/insane hands, but surely there is a solution that allows for us to keep our favorite hunting rifles.
Shootingsports January 10, 2013 at 05:14 AM
Criminals don't obey laws. I believe that the solution might need to contain more legislation regarding mental healthcare reform. I have a member of my family that has serious mental health issues, and when off of medication, I have no doubt she is capable of horrible things. It has been an uphill battle for nearly twenty years to get her on proper medication, and get her the help she needs. Regardless of all that, when she comes to town my guns are under lock and key, and so is the ammo. I would probably die of guilt if she committed some atrocity because of my negligence. Even though we have finally gotten her help, I do not believe that she should ever be in possession of a firearm.
Shootingsports January 10, 2013 at 05:24 AM
Mental illness is a serious problem in this country, and I hate to say it, but I believe the killing will continue until we address that problem. Let's not forget that Timothy Mcveigh only needed fertilizer and diesel fuel, and we aren't going to ban those items. My heart goes out to the families torn apart by this tragedy. I share the same goal as you Matt. I only believe in a different approach.
Randy Adis January 10, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Makes sense. We'll keep living in a society where we live in fear and where disturbed people can do horrific things with instruments designed to do ONE thing super-effectively so that YOU can conveniently keep making your humane follow-up kill shots. Wow.
Michael Cragin January 16, 2013 at 11:19 AM
stop the madness........confiscate assault rifles and pay the owner.......stop talking..............start doing
Ryan January 30, 2013 at 06:14 PM
They were not legally available to him. He STOLE them which last time I checked is a crime. But it is her fault for not securing them properly


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