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Posted on July 13, 2022

HARTFORD – Responding to recent claims by Democrat leaders that their legislative policies are making Connecticut residents safer, the Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus today charged that the Democrats’ soft-on-crime initiatives will actually allow previously-convicted criminals easier access to firearms.

In a widely distributed OP-ED, Conservative Caucus legislators blasted the Democrat-pushed policy of criminal record erasure as but one key issue that will have both an immediate and long-lasting effect on violent crimes in the state. Passed in the 2021 session, Public Act 21-32, provides for automatic erasure of numerous felony convictions (ten years post-conviction), and misdemeanor convictions (seven years post-conviction).

Pointing out that while some elected officials feel the legislature needs to “do something” following a recent heinous school shooting committed across the country, their support for criminal record erasure actually works to undue portions of what are commonly referred to as” some of the toughest gun laws in the country” passed the wake of Sandy Hook.

“Election year politics means distorting the facts to fit a narrative, despite knowing that the policies passed in Connecticut in 2021 will absolutely put criminals back on the streets and allow them access to firearms,” Caucus Chair Rep. Mike France said.   “The same politicians that have been actively working to disarm law-abiding citizens for decades are boasting that they’re erasing criminal records and, with that, taking away any chance law enforcement has of knowing who should and should not be allowed access to potentially deadly weapons.”

The Conservative Caucus noted several disqualifiers that prevent a person from being able to legally obtain a firearm in Connecticut, including: “any felony; or a misdemeanor conviction within the last 20 years for: “Criminally Negligent Homicide”; “Assault 3rd”; “Assault of a Senior Citizen”; “Threatening”; “Reckless Endangerment 1st”; “Unlawful Restraint 2nd”; “Rioting 1st”; 53a-176 “Rioting 2nd”; “Inciting a Riot”; “Stalking 2nd”; or, “Possession of Illegal Drugs.”

“The policy pushed by the Democrats just two years ago takes the Boards of Pardons and Parole out of the equation and wipes clean the record for many persons previously convicted of violence and threatening, hate crimes and more,” Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Craig Fishbein said.  “If we truly want to “do something” then we need to make sure guns don’t end up in the wrong hands to start with. It’s one thing to have sympathy for those who have paid their debt to society, but wholly another not to have empathy for their victims and their families.”

The CGA Conservative Caucus is a group of 16 Connecticut legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.  Its members foster open debate about the role of government in society, adherence to the Constitution, and the rule of law.  They propose and advocate for legislation that promotes the freedoms, individual rights, and prosperity of all Americans. The members of the Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus are:  Rep. Mike France, Chair (R‑42); Rep. Craig Fishbein, Vice Chair (R-90); Rep. Mark Anderson, Secretary (R-62); Rep. David T. Wilson, Treasurer (R-66); Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8); Rep. Anne Dauphinais (R-44); Rep. Doug Dubitsky (R‑47); Rep. Kimberly Fiorello (R-149); Rep. John Fusco (R‑81); Rep. Rick Hayes (R‑51); Rep. Brian Lanoue (R-45); Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-80); Rep. John Piscopo (R-76); Rep. Joe Polletta (R-68); Rep. Kurt Vail (R-52); and Rep. Donna Veach (R-30).