HARTFORD – The Conservative Caucus today came out strongly in favor of House Bill (HB) 5227, “AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF FIREARMS BY MUNICIPALITIES,” a bill that would establish uniform gun laws across the state. HB 5227 seeks to address the growing problem of cities and towns enacting local gun control laws which differ from state law, creating a minefield of conflicting laws impossible for law abiding gun owners to navigate.
“We fiercely defend traditional local control of budgets, schools and land use decisions, but issues applicable across town lines, and which restrict the ability of Connecticut citizens to freely travel across our 169 municipalities, must be uniformly regulated at the state level,” Rep. Doug Dubitsky said. “Having 169 conflicting sets of gun laws in a small state like Connecticut would wrongly prevent people from protecting themselves when travelling to and from their work, their doctor, and the grocery store. Inadequate posting and selective enforcement of local gun control laws further exacerbates this problem.”
Some towns have restricted the manner a person may legally carry a firearm. Others forbid carrying firearms in local parks, in cemeteries or even prohibit the carrying of a firearm anywhere in the entire town. A woman legally carrying a firearm to protect herself and her children from attack would typically have no idea as she travelled on the state and local roads that she may be violating the opaque patchwork of conflicting gun control laws from one traffic light to the next.
“This hodgepodge of different laws among many of our 169 towns and cities is unmanageable by the Connecticut resident looking to legally exercise his or her rights under the federal and state constitutions, and travelling across town lines,” Rep. Craig Fishbein said. “How can one expect the public to be law-abiding in the wake of this crazy quilt of laws, many of which are not even posted? Since the State of Connecticut issues state firearms permits, the State, through its open legislative process, should determine their usage and limitations.”
While supporting HB 5227, the Conservative Caucus strongly opposes Senate Bill (SB) 60, “AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRESENTATION OF A CARRY PERMIT.” SB 60 is nothing less than a Racial Profiling Enabling Act empowering police to detain and question any person walking down the street – without any suspicion of criminal activity – simply because the officer thought he saw a gun.
“The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents the police from detaining a person on the street without any suspicion that the person has done anything illegal,” Senator Rob Sampson said. “Although we strongly support law enforcement and know that the vast majority of officers are conscientious and highly professional, SB 60 invites, or even requires, police to stop, detain and question a person whenever someone complains that the person’s mere presence makes them feel unsafe. Eliminating the Constitutional presumption of innocence violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s Terry v. Ohio decision on unreasonable search and seizure, and throws open the door to entirely predictable abuses like detaining and harassing a person for nothing but the way the person looks.”
The Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus is a group of legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. Its members, Rep. Mike France, Chair (R-42); Rep. Craig Fishbein, Vice Chair (R-90); Rep. Anne Dauphinais, Secretary (R-44); Rep. David T. Wilson, Treasurer (R-66); Senator Rob Sampson (R-16); Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8); Rep. Doug Dubitsky (R-47); Rep. Rick Hayes (R‑51); Rep. Kurt Vail (R-52); Rep. John Piscopo (R-76); Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-80); Rep. John Fusco (R-81); and Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-86), 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.