A Right Becomes a Privilege
A Right Becomes a Privilege
In Defense of our Gun Rights IV
One in a series.
One of the things that has slipped through almost unnoticed when SB1160/PA 13-3 passed, and was signed into law, was the quiet closing of the door on our right to gun ownership. Simply put, we no longer have the right to purchase a gun, of any kind, in this state. It is now a privilege. We have to ask permission from the state. In the same fashion that driving a car is a privilege, that the state grants at their discretion.
A bit of history is in order. Some of us recall when you could buy a handgun without a carry or eligibility permit. You could legally purchase a handgun, and keep it in your home or business. The purpose of the carry permit, was just that. If you wanted to carry in public you had to clear it with the state; papers, fingerprints etc. Without the permit, you were allowed to take the handgun home from the store, and also transport it back for the purposes of repair. Private transfers between individual parties required no forms, although it was considered a good idea, in case the gun turned up at a crime scene. All that changed in 1994, with the Brady bill.
However, even after Brady passed, you could still purchase a long gun without a permit. True, you needed to endure a 14 day waiting period, and background check, but if you came back clean, you were good. If you had a pistol permit, or hunting license, the waiting period was waived. But with the signing of SB 1160, that too changed. To quote our Governor:
“No guns in Connecticut can be sold without a background check. No one in our state is able to walk into a store in our state and buy a rifle without an extensive permitting process,” (*)
You might say that this is a minor quibble, but I don’t think so. I’m thinking of that poor woman in Oxford, Lori Gellatly, who recently was murdered, allegedly by her abusive and controlling husband. Recent Hartford Courant headlines proclaimed things like: “Victim: ‘I Felt Threatened'” (**), and later “In Oxford, System Can’t Save Victim”(***). She died shortly after making a 911 call to police saying that her estranged husband was attempting to break into the house where she was living. The police arrived too late to do anything but investigate the crime scene. She had a restraining order out on him, which apparently just made her husband more angry.
My point is, that after April of 2013, she couldn’t have legally obtained a firearm, any firearm, without that “extensive (and time consuming) permitting process”, and even then it was no sure thing. That right became a privilege. She no longer had the right to defend herself.
We sometimes forget that a right undefended, is a right that is lost. Our First Amendment right to free speech was severely threatened during the 1930’s, and during the McCarthy period of the 1950’s, however that right is now stoutly defended by both sides, and seems relatively secure today. Our right to privacy, on the other hand, has been totally dismantled by the government, citing the threats of terrorism. From invasive airport security procedures, to widespread electronic communications monitoring, security cameras in most public places, Big Brother is most certainly watching. All in the space of twelve or so years.
And our Second Amendment rights? Time is running out my fellow gun-owners. Are we going to stand up and fight for them, or let them be stripped away? The elections aren’t far off. It’s time to get active; some would say past time. Time to support the candidates who support us, and take back the rights that belong to us.
SB 1160: Remember in November 8/14
** 05/08/14 Courant Headline
*** 05/11/14 Courant
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