Dif­fer­ent laws, dif­fer­ent out­comes

Calif. shooter likely wouldn’t have had ac­cess to a le­gal firearm here

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ken Dixon

The man who mur­dered a dozen peo­ple in a Cal­i­for­nia bar Wed­nes­day night would have had a hard time legally pos­sess­ing a firearm in Con­necti­cut.

Ian David Long’s pre­vi­ous run-ins with law en­force­ment likely would have re­sulted in an or­der to seize his firearms, fol­low­ing a lo­cal po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In Con­necti­cut, sim­i­lar cases have re­sulted in the sur­ren­der of

thou­sands of guns un­der the state’s 1999 risk war­rant law, which al­lows con­cerned neigh­bors and fam­ily to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to po­lice, who can re­fer to their database of gun own­ers and take away weapons.

Although Cal­i­for­nia has strict gun laws sim­i­lar to Con­necti­cut, face-to-face

in­ter­views here might have re­sulted in a re­jec­tion of his ini­tial bid for a firearm per­mit. And the ex­tended am­mu­ni­tion clip Long re­port­edly used was made il­le­gal by Con­necti­cut law­mak­ers in 2013.

Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said Long, a dec­o­rated for­mer Ma­rine who served in Afghanistan, first shot a se­cu­rity guard and other staff near the door of Border­line Bar & Grill, where hun­dreds of col­lege stu­dents were at­tend­ing coun­try-west­ern dance night. He then moved into the venue and killed pa­trons with his Glock hand­gun, in­clud­ing a sher­iff’s deputy late Wed­nes­day in the city of Thou­sand Oaks, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press. He then killed him­self.

News re­ports in­di­cate Long had sev­eral pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters with po­lice and that his for­mer psy­chi­a­trist and par­ents no­ti­fied po­lice. In Con­necti­cut that would have been enough in­for­ma­tion to force a risk war­rant re­quir­ing that he sur­ren­der his weapons pend­ing test­ing, ac­cord­ing to state of­fi­cials.

There have been 1,750 peo­ple whose weapons were taken away since 1999 un­der the Con­necti­cut risk war­rant law, in­clud­ing 213 through Oc­to­ber of this year, ac­cord­ing to Con­necti­cut State Po­lice.

State Rep. William Tong, D-Stam­ford, now at­tor­ney gen­eral-elect, said he would like the Gen­eral As­sem­bly to re­con­sider leg­is­la­tion that failed in re­cent years that would al­low law en­force­ment of­fi­cials to ask to see the per­mits of peo­ple who choose to carry their pis­tols openly.

“It’s rea­son­able,” said Tong, who takes the oath of of­fice on Jan. 9. He hopes the Gen­eral As­sem­bly adopts a mea­sure to make sure those with out-of-state gun per­mits are not rec­og­nized in Con­necti­cut.

State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridge­port, vice chair­man of the leg­isla­tive Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, said Thurs­day he also would like to strengthen the state’s gun safety laws. While loaded guns cur­rently are re­quired to ei­ther be made safe with a trig­ger lock or put in a locker, there is no re­quire­ment that un­loaded hand­guns be locked. “It doesn’t take a whole lot of ef­fort to steal, then load an un­loaded weapon,” Stafstrom said.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has is­sued a procla­ma­tion order­ing that flags through­out the na­tion be flown at half-staff in honor of the Cal­i­for­nia club vic­tims.

Con­necti­cut Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy an­nounced that in con­cur­rence, state flags will be low­ered un­til Satur­day, in me­mory of the vic­tims. Mu­nic­i­pal and cor­po­rate flags also should be low­ered, Mal­loy noted.

“Once again, Amer­i­cans woke up this morn­ing to news of a tragic, sense­less shoot­ing,” Mal­loy said. “Once again, young peo­ple have been taken from their loved ones. And once again, a ‘good guy with a gun’ tried valiantly to stop the shooter, only to lose his own life.”

Mal­loy, who helped put through some of the na­tion’s most-am­bi­tious gun­safety laws af­ter the 2012 school shoot­ings in New­town, called for na­tional ac­tion to cur­tail firearms vi­o­lence.

“Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans’ in­ac­tion and sub­servience to the NRA have ex­ac­er­bated the prob­lem of gun vi­o­lence,” Mal­loy said in an early af­ter­noon state­ment. “I urge the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and Se­nate Repub­li­cans to work with the new Demo­cratic House ma­jor­ity and en­act com­mon­sense gun safety re­forms next year. As we have proved in Con­necti­cut, gun laws lit­er­ally save lives.”

Con­necti­cut’s 2013 gun laws banned the sale or im­por­ta­tion of mil­i­tarystyle ri­fles and mag­a­zines that hold more than 10 bul­lets. It re­quires manda­tory back­ground checks and man­dates gun per­mits even for those buy­ing am­mu­ni­tion.

“My heart mourns for all of the vic­tims of the Border­line Bar & Grill in Thou­sand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia,” said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. “This will be the fifth time I have ex­pressed my heart­felt con­do­lences to vic­tims and their fam­i­lies of mass shoot­ings this year. The list of vic­tims of gun vi­o­lence has grown ex­po­nen­tially dur­ing my time in pub­lic ser­vice, and the in­ac­tion of elected of­fi­cials at the na­tional level is deaf­en­ing.”

James Durbin / Mid­land (Texas) Re­porter-Tele­gram

A mix of Glock hand­guns. A Glock was used Thurs­day in the mass shoot­ing at a bar in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif.

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