Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont unveiled this week a $64 million proposal supposedly designed to address rising rates of violent crime in the state.
Lamont calls for giving law enforcement additional funding, but much like New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” the Connecticut governor blames guns and gun owners for his failures to stem the rising tide of violence.
“I’ve just been shocked over this last couple of years. We have more damn guns in the street than ever before in this state right now,” Lamont told reporters at the state Capitol in Hartford, according to the Hartford Courant. “We have more legal guns. We have more illegal guns. They’re coming in from out of state. More guns in the street, more guns in the home means more gun violence.”
Lamont added, “You’re not tough on crime if you’re weak on guns. We’re going to continue to stay tough on guns.”
Lamont isn’t alone in deflecting blame onto gun owners. Along with Adams, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a coalition of New York mayors, former NYC mayor Bill de Blasio, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin have all claimed recently that guns and gun owners are responsible for spiking violent crime rates.
At least in Connecticut, Republicans aren’t buying it. Rep. Craig Fishbein and Rep. Gregory Howard issued a scathing statement opposing Gov. Lamont’s new plan.
“While lawful Connecticut citizens are, on an almost daily basis, being victimized by brazen criminals with little fear of punishment, the governor has chosen an aged election-year tactic of attacking law-abiding gun owners in an effort to distract from his administration’s utter failure to address criminal justice policies,’’ they said.
“Pointing attention to shiny objects, while ignoring the root causes, is not governance. It is manipulation through governmental negligence,” they added.
Lamont posted the full proposal online. It includes $19 million for a statewide gun buyback program, laws requiring that all firearms (not just handguns) be stored with a trigger lock, and a law that automatically disqualifies anyone from owning a gun who has been convicted of a “family violence crime.”
Other laws would require “assault weapons” fitted with arm braces as well as “assault weapons” made before 1993 to be registered with the state.
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Another proposal targets citizens who openly carry firearms at rallies and events. This law would “make it easier for our law enforcement officers to request the gun permits of those openly carrying firearms, and ban the carrying of firearms in polling places, public buildings, public transit, and at demonstrations (such as marches, rallies, vigils, sit-ins, protests, etc.).”
Under current law, police cannot ask someone for his or her license unless that person is suspected of committing a crime.
Another law would require “ghost guns” manufactured before 2019 to be registered with the state.
Finally, Lamont wants to create a state license for gun dealers to “provide oversight and guidance to gun dealers as they comply with state law” because some dealers “do not scrupulously follow Connecticut’s laws.”
Democrats hold a 23-13 majority in the Connecticut State Senate and a 96-53 majority in the House. If the party follows Lamont’s lead, they have the votes to pass these proposals. However, Lamont is up for election this year, which could derail his agenda.