The national press devoted a great deal of attention to gun registration in Connecticut at the end of 2013. The Associated Press's Susan Haigh had a December 29 story which was picked up by, among many others, PBS, CBS's New York City affiliate, the Huffington Post, and the UK Guardian. Time.com was also on the story.
That attention makes the press's virtual inattention outside of the Nutmeg State itself to what has since been learned all the more difficult to justify. It turns out that there are now three types of so-called "assault weapon" owners in Connecticut: those who registered by the deadline, those whose registrations came in after the deadline, and those who defied the state's registration demand. As J.D. Tuccille at Reason.com reported on Tuesday, the second group is on track to having their guns confiscated, and the number of people in the third group dwarfs those in the first two — a situation which has greatly upset the political establishment, particularly the editorial board at the state's largest newspaper (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
Round Up (Tens of Thousands of) Gun Registration Scofflaws, Rants Hartford Courant Editorial Board
... now that Connecticut's resident class of politically employed cretins has awoken to the fact that, in their state, like everywhere else, people overwhelmingly disobey orders to register their weapons, they're acting like this is a shocking revelation. They're also promising to make those who tried to comply, but missed the deadline regret the effort (proving the point of the openly defiant). And the politicians' enablers in the press are screaming for the prosecution of "scores of thousands" of state residents who, quite predictably, flipped the bird at the government.
Three years ago, the Connecticut legislature estimated there were 372,000 rifles in the state of the sort that might be classified as "assault weapons," and two million plus high-capacity magazines. Many more have been sold in the gun-buying boom since then. But by the close of registration at the end of 2013, state officials received around 50,000 applications for "assault weapon" registrations, and 38,000 applications for magazines.
Some people actually tried to comply with the registration law, but missed the deadline. The state's official position is that it will accept applications notarized on or before January 1, 2014 and postmarked by January 4. But, says Dora Schriro, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, in a letter to lawmakers, anybody sufficiently law-abiding but foolish enough to miss that slightly extended grace period will have to surrender or otherwise get rid of their guns.
This, of course, is the eternally fulfilled fear of those who oppose registration of things governments don't like—that allowing the government to know about them will result in their eventual confiscation. Such confiscation, despite assurances to the contrary, occurred in New York, California, and elsewhere. Connecticut has accomplished something special, though, by making "eventual" a synonym for "right now."
You know who won't have to surrender their weapons? People who quietly told the state to f--- off.
This successful example of mass defiance horrifies the editorial board of the Hartford Courant ...
Let's go directly to that editorial:
... Widespread noncompliance with this major element of a law that was seen as a speedy and hopefully effective response by Connecticut to mass shootings such as the one at Sandy Hook creates a headache for the state.
... Guns defined in state law as assault weapons can no longer be bought or sold in Connecticut. Such guns already held can be legally possessed if registered. But owning an unregistered assault weapon is a Class D felony. Felonies cannot go unenforced.
First, however, the registration period should be reopened. It should be accompanied by a public information campaign.
... Authorities should use the background check database as a way to find assault weapon purchasers who might not have registered those guns in compliance with the new law.
A Class D felony calls for a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Even much lesser penalties or probation would mar a heretofore clean record and could adversely affect, say, the ability to have a pistol permit.
If you want to disobey the law, you should be prepared to face the consequences.
Isn't that great? The gun-grabbing statists at the Courant want to use the background check info to round up guns — and their owners. It turns out that Gun Owners of America, which has opposed background checks since way back when, had a point, didn't they?
So the Courant is fully prepared to imprison tens of thousands of Connecticut Yankees because King, er, Governor Dannel Malloy and his legislature passed and are now attempting to enforce laws which are so obviously contrary to the Second Amendment's crystal-clear meaning ("shall not be infringed") that people would rather defy them than ratify them as legitimate by complying.
It's reasonable to believe that the non-Connecticut press covered the December registration drive because its members were happy to see the state achieve what appeared to be a new level of control over a compliant populace.
It's also reasonable to believe that they are ignoring the widespread defiance of an obviously unconstitutional state demand because exposing it will give aid and comfort to freedom lovers throughout the land. We can't have that.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.