Gun Laws & Legislation

Connecticut “Assault Weapon” letter developments

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By The Gun Digest editors

A recent article in the Manchester (Conn.) Journal Inquirer confirms many of Connecticut’s gun owners are indeed set to receive a letter from the state.

A letter will be sent to many gun owners who missed the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline to register their “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines”, according to the article:

The state now holds signed and notarized letters saying those late applicants own rifles and magazines illegally.

But rather than turn that information over to prosecutors, state officials are giving the gun owners a chance to get rid of the weapons and magazines.

According to the article, there was a limited amnesty for some late filers due to extenuating circumstances (the entire article can be read here). The state accepted registrations postmarked Jan. 4, 2014, as long as it believed they had been signed by Jan. 1.

A letter was released earlier this week, purporting to be the one the Connecticut State Police will send to the tardy gun registrants.

The validity of the letter at one point was called into question when Gun Digest contacted the Connecticut’s Special Licensing and Firearms Unit. A spokesperson for the department said no such letter had been sent from their office.

Ed Jacvino, however, shines some light on what the letter might be that hit the Internet.

The Journal Inquirer reporter who wrote the article documenting the state’s plans couldn’t vouch for the authenticity of the letter. But he believes it might be an early draft of what gun owners will receive. And he is certain the language to sell, destroy or move out of state the firearms and magazines in question in the letter is accurate.

In an email to Gun Digest, Jacvino said:

I have a feeling that you’re looking at a draft of the letter that was going to be released before they reached an administrative decision to extend the deadline.

I don’t know if a letter has been finalized yet. I was told last week that it wasn’t finished. But I imagine whatever they do send will be similar.

The sell, destroy or move out of state language is accurate, and I’m told that’s what it will say.

The letter wouldn’t be dated Jan. 2 though. And it might include some explanation of the changes they made (namely accepting applications after Jan. 1 if they were signed and notarized by Dec. 31 and postmarked by Jan. 4).

Feb. 26, 2014:

A letter apparently mailed from the Connecticut State Police to residents who attempted to register their “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines” but missed the Jan. 1, 2014, deadline has gun owners across the Internet up in arms.

The validity of the letter, however, has been called into question.

A spokesperson contacted by Gun Digest for Connecticut’s Special Licensing and Firearms Unit said the letter was not sent from their office. And there are a number of news accounts and government documents that also question the letter’s authenticity.

According to an article on the New Haven Register website, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy had announced plans for amnesty for gun registrations that arrived in the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) office after the Jan. 1 deadline.

In a Feb. 13 letter from the governor’s office to DESPP Commissioner Dora B. Schirro, Malloy advised clemency for firearms registrations received after the Jan. 1 deadline. The letter also stipulated the department’s discretion to accept tardy applications.

“Consistent with the Act, DESPP may choose to accept applications received after January 1, 2014, if the department has reason to believe that an applicant complied with the terms of the Act by attempting to submit the application on or before January 1, 2014, even if the application was not received by DESPP due to circumstances beyond the applicant’s control,” the letter from Luke Bronin, the general counsel to the Office of the Governor, read.

The commissioner of the DESPP agreed. According to a Feb. 14 letter, Dr. Dora B. Schriro wrote her department would accept the applications if it was believed an applicant attempted to submit before Jan. 1 or that it was received late due to circumstances beyond the applicant’s control.

The questionable letter set the online gun world on fire, with scores taking to social media to sound off. Given the controversial gun legislation that passed in Connecticut in 2013, the document touched a sensitive spot among firearms enthusiasts.

The letter also hit the Internet just weeks after many news outlets reported thousands of Connecticut residents had failed to register their firearms.

CT Assault Weapons Letter

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