The latest gun control law in Connecticut has crossed a very frightening line. A standoff has been created between the government and tens of thousands of gun owners now considered felons. It marks the beginning of an Orwellian new phase. Gun owners saw it coming, as evidenced by their recent adoption in recent years of the defiant expression “molon labe.” The phrase originated from Spartan General-King Leonidas, who reportedly responded with “Come and get them!” to Persian Emperor Xerxes’ demand that the Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. The Spartans fought valiantly, but were ultimately defeated. With the prequel to the Hollywood bestselling movie 300 just released last week, Americans are now even more aware of the phrase.
Until now, gun control laws hadn’t mandated the confiscation of weapons; generally, banned guns were grandfathered in under previous laws so their current owners could continue to legally own them. The Connecticut law changes all that. Passed last year in response to the Sandy Hook shooting, SB 1160 bans so-called “assault weapons” – certain rifles, more recently known as AR-15s, that have been singled out based on purely cosmetic criteria – and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The firearms have been banned based on how “scary” they look, not their actual usage in crimes. According to a study from the BATF that came out a few years ago, none of the top 10 guns used in crimes in the U.S. were so-called assault weapons; they were all pistols or revolvers. In fact, the #5 gun used in crimes was a shotgun, which Vice President Joe Biden advised Americans last year to use for self-defense.
The only way to legally retain one of these newly banned firearms or magazines in Connecticut now is to register it – but most gun owners do not want their name on a government list. They are well aware that a list of gun owners can someday be used by the government for confiscation. If gun owners didn’t register their firearms or magazines prior to the December 31, 2013 deadline mandated by the legislation, their firearms will be subject to confiscation and the owners considered guilty of a felony.
So far, it appears that the vast majority of gun owners affected by the legislation did not register their guns prior to the December 31 deadline, making between 50,000 and 350,000 gun owners felons. This is frightening, considering the law doesn’t just make the violation a misdemeanor, it makes it a felony, which could result in a prison sentence. Fewer than 50,000 gun owners registered their firearms by the deadline to comply with the law.