Welcome to Connecticut!
Thanks to the Staying Alive blog, we have this news article from the Waterbury, CT Republican-American regarding a very pragmatic law enforcement tool:
...Using a unique state law, police in Connecticut have disarmed dozens of gun owners based on suspicions that they might harm themselves or others.
The state's gun seizure law is considered the first and only law in the country that allows the confiscation of a gun before the owner commits an act of violence. Police and state prosecutors can obtain seizure warrants based on concerns about someone's intentions.
State police and 53 police departments have seized more than 1,700 guns since the law took effect in October 1999, according to a new report to the legislature. There are nearly 900,000 privately owned firearms in Connecticut today.
Opponents of a gun seizure law expressed fears in 1999 that police would abuse the law. Today, the law's backers say the record shows that hasn't been the case.
"It certainly has not been abused. It may be underutilized," said Ron Pinciaro, coexecutive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence.
Attorney Ralph D. Sherman has represented several gun owners who had their firearms seized under the law. His latest client was denied a pistol permit because the man was once the subject of a seizure warrant.
"In every case I was involved in I thought it was an abuse," said Sherman, who fought against the law's passage.
The report to the legislature shows that state judges are inclined to issue gun seizure warrants and uphold seizures when challenged in court.
Out of more than 200 requests for warrants, Superior Court judges rejected just two applications — one for lack of probable cause, and another because police had already seized the individual's firearms under a previous warrant. Both rejections occurred in 1999. The legislature's Office of Legislative Research could document only 22 cases of judges ordering seized guns returned to their owners.
Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, D-East Haven, is one of the chief authors of the gun seizure law. In his view, the number of warrant applications and gun seizures show that police haven't abused the law.
"It is pretty consistent," said Lawlor, the House chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Robert T. Crook, the executive director of the Connecticut Coalition of Sportsmen, questioned whether police have seized more guns than the number reported to the legislature. Crook said the law doesn't require police departments or the courts to compile or report information on gun seizures. The Office of Legislative Research acknowledged that its report may have underreported seizures.
"We don't know how many guns were actually confiscated or returned to their owners," Crook said.
Police seized guns in 95 percent of the 200-plus cases that the researchers were able to document. In 11 cases, police found no guns, the report said.
Spouses and live-in partners were the most common source of complaints that led to warrant applications. They were also the most frequent targets of threats. In a Southington case, a man threatened to shoot a neighbor's dog.
The gun seizure law arose out of a murderous shooting rampage at the headquarters of the Connecticut Lottery Corp. in 1998. A disgruntled worker shot and killed four top lottery officials and then committed suicide.
Under the law, any two police officers or a state prosecutor may obtain warrants to seize guns from individuals who pose an imminent risk of harming themselves or others. Before applying for warrants, police must first conduct investigations and determine there is no reasonable alternative to seizing someone's guns. Judges must also make certain findings.
The law states that courts shall hold a hearing within 14 days of a seizure to determine whether to return the firearms to their owners or order the guns held for up to one year.
Sherman said his five clients all waited longer than two weeks for their hearings. Courts scheduled hearing dates within the 14-day deadline, but then the proceedings kept getting rescheduled. In one client's case, Sherman said, the wait was three months...
Make sure to read the whole article.
Here's the statute, for you legal types.
In addition, here's a report dated May 10, 2006 from the Connecticut Legislature's Office of Legislative Research on how the statute had been used as of that date.
For my money, as useful as this statute is to Connecticut's government thugs, New York's "Nassau Rules" from across Long Island Sound are even more efficient, with their complete lack of procedure and transparency.
But we're winning in the "soft war"....just you ask the pragmatists. Speak softly, use diplomatic language, don't alarm the melanin-challenged, and we'll accomplish our goals of bringing others to the side of individual freedom and political Liberty without any of that ugly yelling, fighting, shooting, dying, and related Unpleasantness.
And hey - what about that great victory in the Heller case?
Wasn't that something?
Five Really Special Mortals In Black Robes have now said, in writing for the ages, that Americans have an individual right to keep and bear certain firearms in certain places for certain purposes, as long as the American in question is not a type of person that other Mortals might fear, with all of the details around that individual right to be determined by other Very Special Mortals In Black Robes and/or Legislative Raiment.
We're really on our way now....