Do Background Checks Matter When Connecticut Democrats are Automatically Erasing the Criminal Record of Violent and Threatening People?

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Recently, our country has seen multiple tragedies involving guns being used against innocent people, resulting in mass casualties. In response, Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Democrats decry the system and plead “something must be done” to keep firearms out of the hands of violent and threatening people.

While it is agreed that violent and threatening people should not possess firearms, believe it or not, right here in Connecticut, Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Democrats recently passed a law that is automatically erasing many of the criminal convictions that prohibit a person from buying a gun, thereby more than likely arming violent and threatening people.

Face it.  In Connecticut it is tough to be convicted for any crime. Many first and second arrests end up being dismissed. Therefore, any actual conviction is most likely not the product of a first time run-in with the law, but a “repeat offender.” State and Federal law recognizes that some of those eventual convictions shed light on how the convicted regard others, and as a result many convictions prohibit a person from purchasing a gun.

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In Connecticut, one cannot lawfully purchase a gun without a pre-purchase approval from the state police.  Connecticut has many convictions that disqualify a person from obtaining such approval. Among those are any felony; or a misdemeanor conviction within the last 20 years for: 53a-58 “Criminally Negligent Homicide”; 53a-61 “Assault 3rd”; 53a-61a “Assault of a Senior Citizen”; 53a-62 “Threatening”; 53a-63 “Reckless Endangerment 1st”; 53a-96  “Unlawful Restraint 2nd”; 53a-175 “Rioting 1st”; 53a-176 “Rioting 2nd”; 53a-178 “Inciting a Riot”; 53a-181d “Stalking 2nd”; or, 21a-279 “Possession of Illegal Drugs.” 

Passed in the 2021 session, Public Act 21-32, provides for automatic erasure of numerous felony convictions (ten years post-conviction), and misdemeanor convictions (seven years post-conviction), making many persons previously convicted of violence and threatening, once again eligible to possess guns without having to appear before the Board of Pardons and Parole. 

On the day of the law’s passage, House Republicans offered an amendment (LCO 9530) which sought to remove from automatic erasure convictions for the felonies of: 53a-60, “Assault in the Second Degree”; 53a-136, “Robbery in the Third Degree”; and 53a-167a, “Interfering with an Officer.” While all the Republicans voted for the amendment, the Democrats voted it down 81-67.

Another amendment (LCO 9491) sought to remove from this automatic erasure convictions for: 53a-222a “Violations of Conditions of Release in the Second Degree”; and 53a-223c “Criminal Violations of a Civil Protective Order); 53a-58 “Criminally Negligent Homicide” as well as 53a-181d “Stalking in the Second Degree.” Once again, the Democrats defeated that amendment 81 to 67.

Amazingly, the Democrats also voted to automatically erase many felony hate crime convictions. Meanwhile, the Republicans once again tried to stop it.  LCO9490 removed from automatic erasure felony convictions for 53a-181k, “Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Second Degree,” (which is where one “maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of the actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of such other person, does any of the following: (1) Causes physical contact with such other person, (2) damages, destroys or defaces any real or personal property of such other person…; and 53a-181l, “Intimidation Based Upon Bigotry or Bias in the Third Degree.” As with the above, the Democrats voted down that amendment, 74 to 72.

While the general public watches out their bedroom window the dramatic increase in crime during the Lamont administration, and believe the Democrats when they say they want to tackle the increase in gun crimes in our cities, perhaps they would think twice if they generally knew that, at the same time, the Democrats are making guns legally available to people previously convicted of heinous, disqualifying crimes.

Meanwhile, it is the members of the Conservative Caucus, and the other House Republicans, that are the ones trying to keep guns out of the hands of violent and threatening people – for the safety of the public which Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Democrats “claim” to be protecting through their non-stop onslaught on lawful gun owners and ownership.

The Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus includes Rep. Mike France, Chair (R‑42); Rep. Craig Fishbein, Vice Chair (R-90); Rep. Mark Anderson, Secretary (R-62); Rep. David T. Wilson, Treasurer (R-66); Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8); Rep. Anne Dauphinais (R-44); Rep. Doug Dubitsky (R‑47); Rep. Kimberly Fiorello (R-149); Rep. John Fusco (R‑81); Rep. Rick Hayes (R‑51); Rep. Brian Lanoue (R-45); Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-80)Rep. John Piscopo (R-76); Rep. Joe Polletta (R-68); Rep. Kurt Vail (R-52); and Rep. Donna Veach (R-30).