HARTFORD, CT — Proponents conceded defeat Thursday on a bill that would have given law enforcement permission to ask a person to see their gun permit.
Before the Judiciary Committee had even posted its final agenda for Friday’s meeting, Connecticut Against Gun Violence let its supporters know in an email that the bill would not be raised for debate.
This is the second year proponents had pitched the legislation. Last year, it passed the Public Safety and Security Committee on a 16-9 vote, but never got raised for a vote in the House.
This year, it wasn’t only Second Amendment supporters who opposed the proposal. It was lawmakers from urban districts concerned about racial profiling by police.
“The bill was opposed by gun rights activists, as expected, but it was also opposed by some legislators from urban districts that unfortunately have a long history of racial profiling and inequalities,” Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said. “They were afraid this bill would be another reason to stop young men of color. We tried to find a way to address their concerns but were unable to reach such a compromise before tomorrow’s deadline.”
Lawmakers from New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport expressed concern during the public hearing about how the legislation would impact their communities and people who look like them.
“It translates very differently depending on your zip code,” Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, said during the March 15 public hearing on the bill. “It translates very different depending on the community and what people look like in that community.”
Pinciaro said there was also a concern if the bill moved forward that the committee would raise another bill that authorized reciprocity agreements with other states to allow non-residents to carry concealed weapons here.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League applauded the defeat of what’s come to be known as the “show me your papers” bill.
“This bill was not only an unnecessary intrusion, it was advertised as something that is it was not,” CCDL President Scott Wilson said. “Hopefully as time passes, our legislators will understand more about the issues that plague society, and start addressing the root causes of violence with real solutions.”
The legislation had the backing of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, who said they struggle with reporting to the public when a person calls 911 and reports seeing a person with a gun.
Once they find the person carrying the weapon police can ask to see a permit to find out if the person is carrying the gun legally. However, that person doesn’t have to produce a permit for the officer.
Farmington Police Chief Paul Melanson has said that they then have to call the person back who reported the person with the gun and tell them they were unable to figure out if the person was legally carrying a firearm.