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Connecticut: Lawsuit Filed in U.S. District Court Challenging Constitutionality of New Firearms Law

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bridgeport, CT – Yesterday, a widely-anticipated lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, challenging the constitutionality of the new firearms law that was passed hastily by the Connecticut Legislature in response to the tragic shooting in Newtown by a disturbed individual.  Despite this new law being called “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety,” Connecticut’s new firearms law makes Connecticut citizens less safe.  This lawsuit seeks immediate injunctive relief and a ruling declaring the new law unconstitutional under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  It alleges that Connecticut’s new firearms law violates the Second Amendment, and makes both citizens and law enforcement less safe by depriving citizens of modern firearms that are in common use throughout the country for self-defense.

Brought on behalf of individual gun owners, retailers and Second Amendment groups, this lawsuit seeks to vindicate the constitutional rights of citizens who are harmed by the broad prohibitions and unworkable vagueness of the new law.  This legal challenge focuses on Connecticut’s ban of more than 100 additional commonly-owned firearms, demonizing design features that provide improved safety, accuracy and ease-of-use features, including magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. This lawsuit also challenges the practical bans imposed by the new law on an even broader array of firearms due to the new law’s vague language and interpretative confusion combined with severe criminal penalties.

Plaintiffs bringing this lawsuit include an elderly widow who lives alone in a rural area where the emergency response time of a lone resident trooper serving the area is 45 minutes, a Rabbi whose synagogue in the Bridgeport area was broken into by intruders, a young professional woman whose efforts to defend herself are made more difficult by the loss of an arm due to cancer, among other individuals.  In addition, retailers whose businesses have been severely harmed by the law have joined this lawsuit, which was conceived and organized by fellow plaintiff organizations: the Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League (CCDL) and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen.  Both organizational plaintiffs represent large numbers of Connecticut citizens whose rights to own the firearms of their choice for self-defense and other purposes such as sports shooting and hunting has been infringed upon by the new law.

Bob Crook, Executive Director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, says, “This law will do nothing to prevent a tragedy or solve the problem of crime committed with guns.  Instead of violating constitutional rights, we need to get serious about addressing violence and mental illness.”  He continued, “Two recent independent studies by Pew and the federal government have just revealed that gun homicides are down almost 40% and general crime involving guns has dropped a whopping 70% since 1993, which corresponds with the elimination of the federal assault weapons ban.  In contrast, the few areas of the country where gun crimes have increased dramatically are the very places where local or state governments have banned or severely restricted gun ownership by law-abiding citizens.”

This Connecticut lawsuit, along with similar legal challenges in New York and Colorado are expected to better define the extent of a responsible citizens’ right to own a commonly used firearm of personal choice for self-defense, defense of family and other lawful uses.  Each of these states has enacted new firearms laws that, despite law-makers best intentions, make citizens and law enforcement less safe against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey these laws.

Your NRA will continue to work in Connecticut and in other states across the nation to support and protect our Second Amendment rights.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.