The legislature’s Judiciary Committee hit its deadline to approve bills Monday, letting several proposals expire including a stand-your-ground policy to increase legal protections for residents who use deadly force in defense of themselves, their homes, or their vehicles.
The legal committee posted a lengthy agenda ahead of its afternoon deadline with dozens of items. Not everything on the itinerary received a vote before the deadline to approve committee bills.
Among the casualties was a bill, proposed by several of the committee’s Republicans, which would have adopted a stand-your-ground law similar to policies in some other states. Florida’s policy became widely known when George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
The bill received support from state gun owners, who testified in large numbers during a hearing on several proposed gun policies earlier this month.
“This is the very reason I decided to go through the process of being able to own firearms. I don’t believe it should be a criminal offense to defend my life and that of my loved ones,” Mark Carlascio wrote. “Nor should I be painted as a criminal in the eyes of my fellow citizens by the local media and government because I was forced to defend myself and chose not be a victim.”
The state Division of Criminal Justice opposed the policy, saying it was unnecessary and devalued human life. Connecticut’s current self-defense policies were more than adequate to ensure that only people who ignored alternatives, like safe retreat, would be held criminally accountable for such use of force, the division wrote.
“Moreover, human life, even one engaging in criminal activity, is more valuable than a motor vehicle,” the division wrote.
The committee also left on the table a proposal, which would have required additional record-keeping by vehicle recyclers as well as scrap and junk dealers who purchase catalytic converters. However, the legislature has advanced a different proposal to curb catalytic converter theft. In March, the Public Safety Committee approved a bill to restrict the sale of detached catalytic converters in Connecticut.
The committee’s two chairmen, Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, and Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, ran out the clock on the meeting Monday afternoon discussing their mutual concerns about a bill that would have increased penalties for people assault transit workers.
Both condemned transit worker assault but said the bill would probably not deter crime.
“I think when somebody decides they’re going to spit on someone, they’re probably not thinking of what the criminal penalty is for doing that before they wind up and hawk that loogie,” Stafstrom said as the clock struck 4 p.m. and the committee wrapped up its meeting.