Following the Newtown tragedy, Connecticut lawmakers passed some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. The new laws have led to an explosion in background checks – the number of background checks has spiked by more than 6000% in the Constitution State since the Newtown shooting.
By state law, a would-be gun purchaser must pass a criminal background check. That includes all private sales and gun show sales. State Police Col. Danny Stebbins explained that he has been swamped with more than 62,000 background check requests, compared to about 1,000 background check requests in December. "We didn't see this coming and there was no way we could be prepared for it," he said.
The Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated that this veritable mountain of background checks will cost taxpayers $17 million during the 2015 fiscal year. That includes $4 million for the state police to conduct background checks, develop a gun registry, and hand out permits.
To make matters worse, the stricter gun laws have scared gun rights advocates into a gun grab.
Unsurprisingly, government officials aren’t terribly thrilled about the pile of paperwork. Sgt. Andrew Matthews, the president of the Connecticut State Police Union, said, “There is a real struggle with the Malloy administration trying to be fiscally responsible. With fewer people, and no money to be spent on overtime, you can't have it both ways. We are seeing now that the job is not getting done in some cases."
Gov. Dannel Malloy has plans to fix the fiscal problem, such as by hiring civilians rather than sworn officers to save taxpayer dollars.
This is a glimpse of what might have happened if the gun control bill had passed the Senate. It gives gun rights advocates an opportunity to shout, “Told you so!” as government officials struggle to keep up with the deluge of background check requests.
Gun rights advocates might see this backlog as one more reason to disdain government involvement, while gun control advocates might see it as a necessary evil in order to create positive social change. Either way, Connecticut taxpayers will feel the pinch as the state funnels more money into bureaucracy and paper work.