So I chose to back off from the standoff in Connecticut’s controversial passage of SB 1160 (an anti-gun law passed as a Progressive knee-jerk response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Shooting). As I had previously posted, gun owners en masse refused to abide by the law’s deadline and chose not to register their “assault” weapons and high-capacity magazines into the state’s new registry by the 01 January 2014 deadline. But the reason for my standoffishness is because this draconian law is something that is going to have to play out in the legal system (likely the Supreme Court) for it to be resolved, an approach that may take years. But despite the far less dramatic reality of the situation, gun-right advocates across the US are increasingly adopting a posture that not only isolates them in the view of the non-committal public, but organizations seeking to profit from the Connecticut gun standoff illustrate that even among the pro gun-loving right there are wolves who prey upon the sheep.
To start with; following the realization that so few gun owners capitulated to a hastily passed anti-gun law, Connecticut lawmakers basically were at a standoff about how to address the sudden thousands of felons their law had created. Felons who, until SB 1160 was passed, had done nothing aside from purchase a firearm in a legal setting in accordance to the law at the time. The Hartford Courant quickly demonized those gun owners attempting to follow the same means of passive resistance, as set forward by other civil and social rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr.’s non-violent protests, by labeling them criminals that must be punished and stripped of their guns.
Then, on January 30, federal district court judge Alfred V. Covelo upheld Connecticut state law in Shew v. Malloy, citing it is the role of the government to establish whatever means necessary to ensure protection. (Mahony) Thereafter a select number of Connecticut residents who had initially attempted to comply with SB 1160 but had their paperwork sent back, received “notices” that in addition to rejection, they were found to be in possession of illegal weapons and/or high-capacity magazines and had four options available to them – destroy the offending item, turn in, or prove the items in question were no longer in the state. In essence, Connecticut lawmakers and police used rejected registration applications to select who will be among the first that are targeted by the state.
Now, as February passes into March both sides of the gun debate in Connecticut are beginning to square off. On one side, pro-gun right advocates have adopted “Molon Labe” as their mantra, identifying themselves and their “struggle” to King Leonidas and the 300 Greek warriors that made their stand in a graphic novel of the same name (which ironically has a sequel released just this month). (Alexander) Capitalizing on this (because no great political cause can’t be without those seeking profit) have been various enterprises selling swag that also proclaims “Stand/Be Strong Connecticut”, often at outrageous prices that would make the Red Cross chuckle. In addition, self-stylized photos have appeared on the Internet of gun owners glaring at the camera with weapons visible, the occasional tactical kit, and holding signs with the same simple statement, “I/We Stand with CT”. Even in several states, informal militia leaders have published open letters proclaiming everything from looming civil war to killings should police began door-to-door confiscation starting in Connecticut. (“Reaper”) (Vanderboegh)
Look, nothing is going to paint you as a domestic terrorist or radical more in today’s ultra-sensitive gun debate than brandishing a weapon on social media and making passive-aggressive statements of violence should federal or state police attempt to uphold the law (no matter how draconian or unconstitutional they may be). Gun owners in Connecticut are not the Greek 300 army. This is a legal and Constitutional issue – not one of armies or war. Perhaps had so many citizens (who were apparently asleep as the political landscape in their state changed long prior to SB 1160’s passage) been so adamant about their 2nd Amendment rights, it wouldn’t be necessary now to attempt to wrest those rights out of the jaws of Progressivism and the anti-gun left. If you want to show your support for gun owners in Connecticut, then be a sheepdog to your own state’s representatives and their stance on the 2nd Amendment, find a local pro-gun legal defense fund to contribute to, and don’t make appearances or demonstrations in mass media that pit you directly in confrontation with the federal or local authorities (because the last thing the gun community needs is you plastered on YouTube decrying police brutality when you attempted to make a public demonstration by knowingly carrying an open/concealed weapon into a place your state’s law strictly forbids it or appearing as another potential mass shooter). When public perceptions frame both legal precedence and the views of non-committal citizens that are needed upon to help recall an unconstitutional law, image is [almost] everything. Connecticut gun owners are embroiled in a long-term legal battle and they need your support to help illuminate and educate the public – not bilk it for profit or stoke fear.
Then as an example of what’s transpiring on the opposite side, Connecticut police officer Joe Peterson states on social media (while in a heated debate over the state’s gun laws) that he would enjoy “kicking in the doors of gun owners”. (Owens) The officer in question is now facing an internal investigation for his actions decried as a “threat” (but as the comments were made off duty on his own site it is doubtful that he will face any reproach). But Connecticut anti-gun legislators have no idea how to proceed in the face of such widespread refusal of an established law. This as the 2014 mid-term election cycle kicks in, and politicians in Connecticut who passed SB 1160 suddenly are pandering to the very constituents they still are attempting to regulate. So realistically, despite all the froth on both sides of the gun debate in Connecticut, it is unlikely any significant near-term action will be done to perhaps prosecute/target gun owners by cross-referencing background checks on firearms purchases to individuals who did not apply for registration. Those at most risk in the near-term will be the 100 or so citizens who attempted to abide by the law and register their weapons and “high-capacity” magazines, only to have those forms denied because now the state knows exactly what they have and where they live. They will be the first victims of this, and likely be made the greatest example of when the state finally does decide to take action.
The biggest lesson learned here as Connecticut citizens attempt to wade through the circus that has become the state’s knee-jerk reaction to the Sandy Hook shooting, can be this is what happens to state’s when the citizens advocate their involvement in the political process, and sleep while their Constitutional rights are slowly eroded away. Because then you have to fight like hell to get it back. There will be plenty of pitched battles in the future folks, with states like MD, CT, NJ, NY, CA and more trying to completely reform and erase the 2nd Amendment. We will need just as many who can articulate in a court room the facts and truth of the 2nd Amendment as we need on the range to ensure the continuation of our nation’s gun heritage.
“Reaper”, COL. “Open letter to the lawful gun owners of Connecticut.” 25 February 2014. Arizonia State Militia. 28 February 2014 <http://arizonastatemilitia.com/tyranny/open-letter-to-the-lawful-gun-owners-of-connecticut/>.
Alexander, Rachel. “Molon Labe: Connecticut’s Terrifying Start Of Gun Confiscation.” 11 March 2014. Townhall. 11 March 2014 <http://townhall.com/columnists/rachelalexander/2014/03/10/molon-labe-connecticuts-terrifying-start-of-gun-confiscation-n1806403/>.
Mahony, Edmund. “Federal Judge Upholds State’s Tough Assault Weapons Ban.” 30 January 2014. The Courant. 20 February 2014 <http://articles.courant.com/2014-01-30/news/hc-gun-control-0131-20140130_1_gun-ownership-gun-control-gun-rights>.
Owens, Bob. “Connecticut Police Launch Internal Investigation Over Facebook “Threats” Made by Off-Duty Officer to Gun Owners.” 10 March 2014. Bearing Arms.com. 11 March 2014 <http://bearingarms.com/connecticut-police-launch-internal-investigation-over-facebook-threats-made-by-off-duty-officer-to-gun-owners/>.
Vanderboegh, Mike. “An Open Letter to the Men and Women of the Connecticut State Police: You are NOT the enemy (UNLESS YOU CHOOSE TO BE.).” 15 February 2014. Sipsey Street Irregulars. 28 February 2014 <http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2014/02/an-open-letter-to-men-and-women-of.html>.