Nine months should have been enough time for Connecticut residents to comply with a new law requiring assault weapons to be registered with state police, and large-capacity ammunition magazines to be similarly "declared." The measure, enacted in April 2013, set Dec. 31 as the deadline.
But for some, apparently the time was too short. They are complaining that registrations mailed on New Year's Eve are not being counted because they weren't postmarked until Jan. 1 or later. This leaves them with now-illegal weapons and magazines.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has suggested that registrations that just missed the deadline may indeed be accepted — if the General Assembly passes legislation saying so. Lawmakers should say yes to that.
It's not clear why so many people dilly-dallied so long to comply with this well-publicized requirement, although when it comes to enacting gun safety legislation, foot-dragging and roadblock-building are familiar parts of the process. Some may have been holding out hope that legal challenges would invalidate the law, or at least delay its application.
The measure was passed in response to the December 2012 killing of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
In some ways, the legislation is far weaker than it ought to have been. For example, it doesn't out-and-out ban large-capacity magazines, such as the ones used by Adam Lanza in his murderous school rampage; it simply requires that existing ones be declared, and forbids their future purchase in the state.
There is no reason why anyone apart from police and the military should need magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Grandfathering them in was one of many compromises agreed to by the legislature when crafting the new law.
Still, those who, however unwillingly, tried to obey the law should be given every opportunity to do so, even by adjusting the deadline requirements a bit. Better to know where these killing devices are than to make them illegal contraband.