A year ago this coming Friday, the Connecticut General Assembly passed and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law "An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Child Safety." This bill, which requires owners of semiautomatic rifles defined as assault weapons to register them and includes other restrictions on guns and standard-capacity magazines, was placed into law using emergency certification, which means it had no public comment or input.
If hearings on the bill had been held, the legislature would have heard from the thousands of law-abiding gun owners who see this law as unconstitutional and continue to support its repeal.
The law neither prevents violence nor protects children. It has, however, far reaching effects. It converts law-abiding citizens into potential felons by the tens of thousands, by making criminals of those of us who choose not to comply with the registration requirements. This despite our having legally and safely owned guns and ammunition for years. It has been reported conservatively that there are more than 50,000 unregistered assault weapons in Connecticut. Their owners can be charged with a Class D felony.
This law, passed in the aftermath of the tragic killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, emerged from the bowels of the Capitol in the dead of night. It is just the most current example of the mistaken ideological crusade that is "gun control." Requiring legislation on an object will not slow those with malicious intent. Further, history has proven that gun control laws lead to confiscation. It happened in England. It happened in Australia. It happened in Canada. Now it will happen in America.
Neither school safety nor proven real issues that lead to gun violence are addressed in this law. How does registration dissuade a person bent on violence?
Those who are willing to see the awful truth of our current situation realize that the law has been perverted to serve ideology and political leaning over equal and exact justice founded on the protection of individual rights. Can there be any safety to property or individual rights with this model at its core?
The Connecticut Constitution is very clear, beginning with a Declaration of Rights. Article 1 Section 15: "Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state."
Both the federal and Connecticut constitutions affirm and protect the individual right to keep and bear arms. This right pre-exists both documents and should not be infringed.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Marbury v. Madison holds that an act of the legislature, repugnant to the Constitution, is void.
The very foundation stones of our individual liberty and natural unalienable rights have been subjected to a slow, insidious, intentional erosion for decades. Our republican form of government has slowly transformed into an unaccountable administrative state. This is unacceptable — it undermines our foundation.
We have been teaching revisionist history for far too long in our country. There is ignorance as to where our freedoms are derived and the limitations placed on government.
Properly viewed, all constitutions are laws that can establish contracts, according to "The Social Contract and Constitutional Republics" published by the Constitution Society. On taking an oath to support, protect and defend the Constitution, an official is bound to that contract. These contracts establish the ground rules for how the government is to deal with its the citizens.
When agents entrusted with the care and administration of the Constitution overstep their vested authority and abrogate the protected rights of the citizenry, they undermine the foundation for law — that act is criminal.
We the people have only two ways to deal with each other: reason or force. If you want me to do something for you, the choice is by reason of argument or by threat of force, said New Hampshire-based writer Marko Kloos. Our proclaimed defiance of Connecticut's gun laws is not founded in contempt for the law, rather a love of justice and stability of law. Is a system of law which has been manipulated through emotional decision-making stable or just?
Those in government who choose to rule by fiat instead of by representing us have a choice to make: This choice is reason or force. The line is drawn and the people will no longer allow further encroachment of our natural rights. An armed society is a polite society. As long as the people remain armed, government knows that it cannot rule over the people by force. Those who stand in defiance of unconstitutional laws do so out of duty, honor, oath and love of country.
It is time for the governor and state legislators to undo the law they wrote and approved — away from the public's view — and to listen to their constituents.
John Cinque lives in Branford.