Article from the Coalition of CT Sportsmen:
Newtown Hearings Giving Way To Expedited Legislative Schedule http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/newtown-sandy-hook-school-shooting/hc-what-next-newtown-20130201,0,7260991.story
Some state legislative leaders want to pass a composite bill, the major issue firearms, by Feb. 28. To meet the deadline, lawmakers will bypass the normal system of legislative committee deliberations and public hearings by using the emergency certification, or “e-cert” process. Normally, legislation of this magnitude would have to go through numerous standing committees including appropriations, judiciary, public safety and insurance – each of which might have held its own hearing. But the emergency-certification process bypasses that. State Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams said there’s been ample public input. WE disagree!
While we can’t dispute the legality of the “e-cert” process, in this case it deprives citizen testimony and other input on the actual bill. At the discussing “Information Hearing” we discussed PROPOSED concept bills with NO statutory language. No lobbyist, legislator, or knowledgeable citizen would ever testify on a bill without viewing/evaluating statutory language. Without a public hearing to promote/oppose/discuss issues of concern and HOW they will be implemented and WHAT will affect the legal gun owner as to bans, restrictions, economics, compliance, and others, we believe this is a clear denial of rights to provide input from those who will be affected. To state the “information” hearings are sufficient for passage is a travesty.
Also at the public hearing, no questions were asked of those testifying and there have been no gun owners, FFL holders, target shooters, or those who have defended themselves included in the “Experts” meetings. NSSF, representing manufacturers was appropriately included, but no expert end users. And, No proposals contemplated by gun owning organizations were requested. Why not?
At the firearms “information hearing” where sportsmen attendance was estimated at close to 2,000 we were forced to process through metal detectors and body screening. Only through dedication and the desire to make their voices heard on these CONCEPTS, many waited 2 – 21/2 hours in blinding snow and cold winds to gain entry and many left. At NONE of the other 3 hearings were metal detectors used. Discriminatory? In my 33 years as a lobbyist, no firearms/dangerous weapons have ever been seized at gun hearings.
Our next step? ALL gun owners must respectively communicate with your state legislators to strongly request a public hearing on whatever proposal(s) they develop. If a public hearing isn’t held, citizen input will have to be conducted at the Capitol when House and Senate debate takes place. We would expect a significant turnout expecting gun issues will be prominent and the gun bill detrimental to gun owners. We went through something similar in 1979 on “Ban All Handguns” with 8,000 gun owners present mostly outside due to Fire Marshall building capacity rules. We expect gun owners will perceive such an event as legislative disregard of the public good.
Few legislators are aware of the multitude of CT laws with which we have to comply. That our laws are comprehensive and strict no one denies. But there are some unaware of how firearms are legally used and some may still not understand the difference between a machine gun and semi-auto. Some fault lies with us due to the reluctance of some clubs to invite them into our community to talk and shoot. When communicating use the KISS principle.
Finally, what is the justification for Emergency Certification? Do we realistically expect a similar tragedy soon? Will the new laws immediately implemented make any difference to madmen or criminals? Will CT follow the NY “Quick Fix, Do Something“ Emergency Certification bill fiasco, replete with subsequent Constitutional lawsuits and citizen and police defiance?
There is a better way! Urge a Public Hearing!
Discuss current firearms legislation February 7th at 7PM. Bristol F&G, 700 Beecher Rd, Wolcott CT 06716. All welcome.
To join the Connecticut Coalition of Sportsmen, please download the application by clicking here >> CCSApp. This document includes the application and a list of activities.