Three bills that proponents say close a loophole in Connecticut gun laws received a public hearing Tuesday.
All three bills (HB6901, SB 904, SB 903) attempt to give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to hold owners of lost or stolen firearms accountable for not reporting the firearms missing.
Last year the bill passed the Senate but failed by 13 votes in the House after a three-hour debate. This year proponents of the legislation, including Judiciary Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, are optimistic the legislation will become law.
A number of legislators and victims of gun violence testified in favor of all three bills Tuesday. Many had their own personal stories to tell.
Rep. Doug McCrory, D-Hartford, said one Sunday he was watching college basketball with a colleague while their children played outside. When his colleague goes to leave he realizes he can’t because there are five police cruisers outside conducting a murder investigation. McCrory said a 17-year-old was gunned down seven-feet from his front door in broad daylight.
“Where did the gun come from?” There are no legal gun stores in Hartford, in fact there are no legal gun stores in many of the towns surrounding the city, and yet “we continue to put our heads in the sand,” and ignore the question.
Opponents often argue that the legislation goes after legal gun owners instead of the criminals. Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford, an opponent of the legislation, said if you ask the kids on the street where the guns are coming from they say its from New York or Boston, “it’s not the lost or stolen ones.”
Chief State Attorney Kevin Kane said he believed that was partially true. He said it’s probably a little bit of both. Kane who spoke in the favor of the legislation said he doesn’t think it’s unreasonable for gun owners to be expected to be “careful about the attention they pay to their guns.”
Sen. Ed Gomes, D-Bridgeport, said the hypothetical situation that someone could break into your house and steal your gun without you noticing is an unreasonable argument. “One of the first things I’m gonna do is look for my gun,” he said.
McCrory said he asked a 12-year-old how much it costs to get a gun in the city and the kid told him $200. McCrory, who owns two guns, said “this bill will go a long way to getting at the root of the problem.”
Click here to read the rest of the testimony from Tuesday.