By Gregory J. Miller, U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney for Connecticut
I never would have believed a time would come when I would walk into a gun store in Connecticut and hear, “Sorry, we cannot sell guns to anyone right now.” But this is exactly the situation we are currently facing in Connecticut. Was it a new law or regulation that shut the entire system down? No. The State says its new computer system, which is designed to make firearm sales easier, is not yet fully implemented. Let me clarify that: the new system does not work, and the stores are left helpless, unable to serve law-abiding persons who have a constitutional right to purchase a gun.
Our Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But what does it mean to speak of liberty or happiness if you cannot protect your life? We hold these truths to be self-evident; the first right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence is our right to life. Explain that to a computer.
For 35 years, I have fought against laws that sought to deny you the right to defend your life. But what we saw in Connecticut this month appears to be something new, and it’s as scary as any horror film monster. Our rights were taken away not by a law, not even by a regulation, but by a nameless, invisible computer somewhere at the Department of Public Safety. The officers who operate the computer apologize for the horrible things that the computer is doing, but they have no power to stop it. Persons who have every right to purchase a firearm are denied as the computer simply freezes, unable to decide whether to authorize the sale. And this system is nearly guaranteed to reject any applicant with a last name of Hispanic origin. The State says this is because Hispanic names are too “common.” That is no reason to deny people their constitutional rights! The State says this new system will be an improvement once they get it sorted out, but what a coincidence that when people are seeking to exercise their constitutional rights now more than ever before, the computer system has effectively shut down all gun sales for weeks. And its owners cannot really tell us when it might work.
As the Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield in Connecticut, I am proud to be working with a superb team of lawyers to stop this unlawful denial of rights. U.S. LawShield is committed to helping the state’s largest pro-2A organization, Connecticut Citizens Defense League (“CCDL”), fight this battle. But this case should scare the dickens out of all of us. The message is clear: the new frontier of gun control will be not only about new laws, but also about technology that few understand (and officials can claim ignorance of). This is the new monster. We must face it now, for Connecticut is the canary in the coal mine. With the help of U.S. LawShield, we will fight this battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if we must. If we do not, our rights could be gone with little more than a keystroke. And to all of you who support U.S. LawShield so they can support us in Connecticut, I thank you. We are a small state and are very grateful for your support.
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