Letter to the Editor:
The League of Women Voters of Connecticut would like to thank our local legislators, the leadership of the General Assembly and Governor Malloy for their commitment to achieving meaningful legislation on gun violence prevention—and to do so in a bipartisan fashion. We also thank the thousands of Connecticut residents—including those from the previously silent majority—who raised their voices for changes to our state’s gun laws. This major accomplishment reinforces the League’s core belief that citizens and their elected representatives can discuss contentious issues and focus on the common ground, on what unites us rather than divides.
There has been much media coverage about the new comprehensive law but we would like to highlight two important components you might not have learned about in the recent reports. Specifically, the new law:
- Fights gun trafficking. This will help CT law enforcement to combat gun trafficking by increasing the criminal penalties for “straw purchases” of firearms and related offenses that put guns into the hands of criminals. Guns used in crimes may start out as legal guns—but then are diverted into criminal activities, most frequently through “straw purchases” where someone buys a firearm on behalf of a convicted felon, a juvenile or other person prohibited from gun ownership.
- Improves safe storage requirements. The presence of unlocked guns in the home increases the risk of both accidental gun injuries and intentional shootings. Responsible gun ownership can save lives. Now, gun owners who store loaded firearms in their homes will be held responsible for locking up or otherwise securing their firearms if they should know that someone else in the household is not eligible to have a gun for any reason (under age 21 for a pistol, 18 for a rifle, a criminal record, etc.), or that person poses an imminent risk of harm to himself or others.
The League of Women Voters of Connecticut has long supported measures to protect the health and safety of citizens through regulating the ownership of firearms. We are pleased that these two important provisions have been enacted in the new law. All eyes are now on the U.S. Congress. To reach your U.S. officials to urge passage of sensible gun laws, go to http://lwv.org/get-involved.
Cheryl Dunson, President
League of Women Voters of Connecticut