In the weeks following the shooting at Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, gun control laws were at the forefront of the national political debate. In response to the incident, Connecticut enacted legislation requiring gun owners to register all military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines by the end of 2013.
According to the Hartford Courant, as many as 350,000 assault weapons may still be unregistered throughout the state. The state did receive around 50,000 applications for assault weapon certificates, but that represents only 15 percent of the weapons believed to be owned by Connecticut residents.
The problem presents a tricky situation for Connecticut law enforcement officials. Many individuals who possessed these types of weapons prior to the enactment of the new law had a clean, non-criminal record. Missing the registration deadline, however, makes them class-D felons. Prosecuting thousands of individuals on the basis of this law may be difficult.
Although owning an unregistered assault weapon in Connecticut now represents a serious criminal infraction, major Second Amendment rights organizations throughout the state claim that they do not believe the law is actually going to be enforced.
Ed Peruta, director of Connecticut Carry, had some blunt words regarding the current situation in the state.
“The fact is, the state does not have the balls to enforce these laws,” Peruta said. "The laws would not survive the public outcry and resistance that would occur."
Peruta and his organization also released a statement explaining that they are prepared to fight against any unnecessary enforcement of the law. How the state government reacts remains to be seen, but the sudden influx of non-violent criminals is certainly something it'll be forced to deal with in the coming months.