Gun Law Inspired by Newtown Shooting Upheld

While gun control advocates celebrate the news, those who brought forth the suit say this is far from over.

File Photo
File Photo
By Gary Jeanfaivre

A federal judge upheld an assault weapons ban in Connecticut put in place after the Sandy Hook School shooting, dismissing claims it violated the Second Amendment.

"While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control," U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello writes in his 47-page decision, upholding the legality of the state's law.

The law, which is considered among the toughest in the nation, was enacted last year in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook that left 20 students and six educators dead.

The office of Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen provided the arguments in defense of the constitutionality of the law.

"We are heartened by Judge Covello’s ruling that has reaffirmed consistent rulings in other jurisdictions that banning military style assault weapons in the interest of public safety does not constitute an infringement of Second Amendment rights," Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV), said.

For more on this story click here.

Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 08:54 AM
@Steve, I don't understand. Are you suggesting that shotguns should be illegal?
Grumpy Old Man February 04, 2014 at 08:58 AM
Jeff - My post stated that the politicians disregard the feelings of the American people. They listen to their own perverted sense of superiority - just look at Bloomberg - not only his anti gun stance but banning big gulps. he knew better and the hell with anyone else. Steve - agreed, absolutely.
Grumpy Old Man February 04, 2014 at 09:00 AM
Steve - but Joe wants you to shoot it up in the air!!!!!
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 09:00 AM
In the same way that a majority of Americans want private ownership of firearms to be legal, I suspect that a majority of Americans also want high-powered weapons (by some reasonable definition) and high capacity magazines to be illegal. Both positions are legal and consistent with the Second Amendment.
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 09:01 AM
Not at all. Im pointing out how crazy it is to make an ar-15 illegal because of the way it looks. While ignoring how much more deadly a shotgun that will never be outlawed is. You pointed out a number above showing how many gun murders there were. Do you know how many of those were from an ar-15? The real number is less then 1%.
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 09:02 AM
I agree--a firearm should not be banned based on how it looks.
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 09:04 AM
I hate to say it but we will never stop a crazy person who is hell bent on killing others from doing so. You can ban every damn weapon there is and if someone has it in their mind that they want to kill someone they will. Be it a legal gun , a 4 wheel drive pickup truck or a pressure cooker.
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 09:07 AM
A deer rifle is a high powered weapon. Google image a .223 cartridge and compare it to a 30-06 or .270 cartridge and tell me what looks like it is more deadly.
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 09:21 AM
By federal law a person must be over the age of 21 to purchase a handgun. Most murders committed with a handgun are committed by those under the age of 21. If that law dosn't work, why would another one work? There are so many gun laws on the books now, with the majority of them being overlooked.
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 09:25 AM
Certainly, we should be enforcing the good laws that we have (and jettisoning the bad ones).
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 09:31 AM
Jeff , next tiem you read the paper pay attn. to crime reports. You will see headlines like " youth arrested with stolen gun after standoff" and the like. Then when you read the article it will list the charges. Many times the stolen gun isn't listed in the charges. All legal gun owners support felon in possession , using a gun in the commission of a crime , possession of stolen firearm type laws. These are law that when actualy used , will do some good. Problem is so many times criminals are not charged with them.
JB February 04, 2014 at 12:41 PM
I don't understand the label "assault style weapon". If you are hit in the head with a baseball bat, is it not an "assault style weapon"?
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 12:50 PM
If a wooden-stock .223 Remington has the same firing capacity as an AR-15, the only real difference is that the latter is "assault-styled." Baseball bats aren't styled differently so that some replicate a weapon that a SWAT team might carry.-----As I said above, I wouldn't ban the purchase of a weapon because of its styling, but rather, because of its "lethality," where lethality is some reasonable combination of power and rapidity of fire. Where do I draw the line? I don't know, I'm not an expert, but one reasonable line seems to be between the AR-15 and the M-16. I get that both are low power. The M-16 (or the AR-15 with high capacity magazines) crosses the line, in my opinion, toward too much rapidity. They simply aren't weapons that private citizens need for sport or protection. That said, I would have no problem with a licensed shooting range being able to make automatic weapons available for use under controlled conditions. I bet it would be a blast to fire a .50 caliber machine gun.
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 12:54 PM
There is a gun range 2 towns over from me where one can rent a full auto machine gun ( for use on premesis only) Ive never done it as the belts are hand loaded and very expensive. So Jeff , where do you stand on an ar-15 with a 10 round magazine?
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 01:04 PM
AR-15s are fine with me. What's a magazine that's too large? Hard for me to say--I'd be interested to think what police forces say (after all, they are essentially our militia today, and probably who we'd rely on in the highly unlikely event that our military turned on us). 5 rounds is too low a limit. 20 rounds is too high a limit. Should the limit be 8? 10? 12? If you're a private citizen who can't defend yourself with 10, you're probably in WAY over your head.
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 01:08 PM
Whats to keep a fruitloop from taping 2 -10 rounders back to back for a quick flip? Or just have 6 on him. We need to fix the mental. 2 days after newtown a kid in another school was caught before he wiped everyone out. That kid should have been grilled by every mental health expert as to why? Seams all these types that come unglued are loners who hate life. Should schools be teaching self esteem when parents refuse to or unable to as they may not have one themselves?
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 01:16 PM
I suspect that a well-trained person with a duffle bag full of 8 round magazines could do almost as much damage as someone with an infinite capacity magazine. I think the current bans generally center on 15-round magazines. Whether the number is 10 or 15, my personal opinion is that there's no need, and some harm, in the larger capacities.-----Will this significantly cut down on the 10,000 firearm murders we have each year? No. We need to tackle the problem on multiple fronts: regulation of weapon type, enforcement of existing laws, registration, background checks, mental health, security, and likely more. I don't know what the answer is. But the status quo isn't acceptable, and more firearms than the ~300 million we already have doesn't seem to be the answer. Look at the company we keep in firearm homicides per capita--unacceptable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate
Grumpy Old Man February 04, 2014 at 01:34 PM
The same arguments are being regurgitated ad nauseum. The stats about other countries are merely nauseating and frankly, to quote Rhett Butler, I don't give a damn about some other countries. (Before the stats mean anything please control for all variables). I understand there has been some talk in England about doing away with their gun bans. Gee, I wonder why.
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 01:49 PM
I'm not sure what variables we'd control for that would put us in a better light. As sad as it is that we're 15th (between Costa Rica and Uruguay), it's sadder still that we're 3rd in suicides. Who would I like to be like? How about Australia, where the homicide rate is 27 times lower. Canada, where the rate is 7 times lower. Serbia, where the rate is 6 times lower. These aren't exactly countries that we think of as being soft or over-regulated. Serbia--we're 6 times more dangerous than Serbia!
Grumpy Old Man February 04, 2014 at 02:15 PM
So what. Do you want to live in one of these safer countries. I don't. The variables are each and every index which have a bearing on just what weapons a person uses to kill, the types of deaths that are involved and just why they kill. Please present me the verified proof that without a gun the suicide rate would decrease. You cannot just parrot statistics as if they mean something. By the way, is every locality, even localities in a city equal in danger? And what is your opinion of Norway? If you don't get the drift, I don't go in for hankie arguments. Ergo, how bad I'm supposed to feel about homicide rates. I value liberty above feel good political shenanigans based on hankie arguments.
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 02:30 PM
I wouldn't mind living in Australia or Canada (or New Zealand). I suspect that I could enjoy much of Europe, especially the Scandinavian countries. I certainly wouldn't be going there because of the firearm violence we have in the US, but I wouldn't be bothered by the lower firearm violence in any of those places. That said, I'd be moving to those countries as a temporary experience--I'll always consider the USA to be my home and the place to which I'd return.-----As for "verified proof," well, I don't know what your standards are, but Google "suicide rate vs. gun availability" and you'll find a host of studies. Most show correlation, not causation, because the latter is hard if not impossible to prove. From a paper published in the International Review of Law and Economics, "So in a new paper published in the International Review of Law and Economics, we studied the relationship between guns and suicide in the U.S. from 2000 to 2009. Using five measures of gun ownership and controlling for other factors associated with suicide, such as mental illness, we consistently found that each 1 percentage-point increase in household gun ownership rates leads to between 0.5 and 0.9 percent more suicides. Or, to put it the other way, a percentage-point decrease in household gun ownership leads to between 0.5 and 0.9 percent fewer suicides."-----One of the relatively few search results that doesn't explicitly or implicitly agree or suggest that the availability of firearms is causal makes the point that fewer guns would just mean more suicides by other means. Perhaps that's true, although I suspect (and only suspect--I of course don't know) that firearms are "easier" than other means. Firearms account for half of all suicides, at more than twice the rate of the next leading method, suffocation. Certainly, suffocation is more available as a option than firearms.
Grumpy Old Man February 04, 2014 at 02:36 PM
The arguments are just rotating around and around, so I am closing out. Jeff, you have your opinion and I agree with some of the things you posit as I stated in my prior posts. As for the areas we disagree, we will just have to leave it at that - we agree to disagree.
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 02:46 PM
Fair enough, I've enjoyed the exchange. I think we can both agree--stay safe! [grin]
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 03:54 PM
Jeff here is something to keep in mind. I live in NH. A state with very relaxed gun laws. To the south of me is Massachusetts, a state with very strict gun laws. Yet the homicide rate in Mass is more then twice that of NH.
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 03:57 PM
Now lets look at gun death victoms. 54% are suicides. Fair enough to say some of them would not have been successful the first time using another meathod. many would be , or at least the second attempt. From whats left 78% have had at least 9 prior arrests. Or I other words, they are criminals. Ask any homicide cop what are they cases that they really want to solve. They will tell you the ones with a truly innocent victom. Because they are so few and far between they are the ones that they remember.
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 04:20 PM
Steve, the state level comparison is interesting. And MA vs NH is particularly interesting, since they're in the same part of the country. As it happens, VT (lower than NH) and ME (2x NH) look a lot like NH--I'm assuming they have similarly relaxed laws. RI is a bit lower than MA, whereas CT is almost 2x MA.-----One general trend is that firearm murder rates per capita increase with both state population and state population density. Apparently, we use our guns on each other when we're closer to each other--no real surprise there.-----You might think that the murder rate would go up with increased firearm ownership, but that's not the case--it doesn't go up or down.----FYI, I'm looking at Wikipedia data here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States_by_state. -----This data doesn't show gun laws. On that measure, more gun laws correlates to fewer gun deaths. That's correlation, though, and not cause-and-effect.
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Funny thing Jeff and one that many find hard to believe is murder rates and availability of guns don't go hand in hand. Now if one were to compare areas with high volumes of gangs and murder rates Im guessing it would be a different story. Keep in mind VT dosnt have gun laws . The only law they have is the same one as the feds . Felons can not own guns. Aside from that any resident or nonresident for that matter can carry a concealed gun . No license , no anything. Go to a gun store , buy a gun , strap it on your hip and as long as your not a felon ( if you were you would not have been able to buy the gun anyway) and your good to go. Now AlaSKA HAS THE SAME TYPE OF LAW OR NOT A LAW , CALL IT WHAT YA WANT. yET THE MURDER RATE IS A LOT HIGHER.
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 04:36 PM
What restrictions, if any, are there in VT as to where one can carry a concealed weapon legally?
Jeff Dieffenbach February 04, 2014 at 04:37 PM
A separate question: is it true that if you purchase a firearm at a "gun show," that there is not background check whereas there would be if the same purchase was made at a Wallmart?
steve forte February 04, 2014 at 04:43 PM
First question first for VT. Just what federal law says . NO courthouse , no schoolyard and no post office. Im not sure about places that serve alcohol. I know in NH you can if you are not drinking. As far as gun shows go it really is a whole lot of nothing. Im not an expert on gunshows as I have only been to about 3. Almost all the sellers there are licensed dealers who have brick and morter stores. The few I saw that were not were selling either antique or collectable rifles. By federal law it is illegal to sell a handgun in a private sale to anyone you have not personaly known for a minimum of 5 yrs. This is a law that is not enforced as it would be enforced by the ATF and as far as they are concerned in their own words it " a non issue" Basicly meaning it happens so little that they could not be bothered with it as they have much m ore important things to work on.


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