Sunday, January 20th, 2019

Connecticut, gun laws, and murder


I cannot imagine the grief of the families that have lost their children today in the attack on a school in Connecticut. It was a horrible crime. Unfortunately, since the gunman is dead, we may never know the reason for the attack that killed 28 people, including 18 children.

Unfortunately, our grief will have to make room for politics, as it inevitably follows these terrible events.

Commentator David Frum could not restrain himself and offered this extremely tasteless remark before we even knew how many people were killed, “Shooting at CT elementary school. Obviously, we need to lower the age limit for concealed carry so toddlers can defend themselves.”

Frum prides himself as being a leader of the “No Labels” movement, but I can think of a lot of labels for Frum right now. Frum is not alone, unfortunately.

The focus will inevitably turn to the gun used rather than the shooter. Thanks to the NRA, we have a good summary of the laws in Connecticut regarding guns. Some of the more interesting provisions found in the summary:

  • “No sale or delivery of a rifle or shotgun can be made until the expiration of two weeks from the date of application for purchase.”
  • “A permit to carry a handgun, a permit to sell handguns, or a handgun eligibility certificate is required to purchase a pistol or revolver.  Any person, firm or corporation who sells or otherwise transfers a handgun must contact the Connecticut State Police to verify the validity of the permit to carry handguns or the handgun eligibility certificate.”  (This is a permit to own, not concealed-carry.)
  • “Any person who is twenty-one years of age or older may apply to the Commissioner of Public Safety for an eligibility certificate for a pistol or revolver.  The Commissioner must issue this certificate if the applicant may lawfully possess a handgun under state and federal law, and has successfully completed an approved handgun safety or training course.  The applicant must be fingerprinted and pay all appropriate fees ($35).  The certificate is valid for 5 years.  The Commissioner of Public Safety must be notified within 2 business days of an address change.” (Again, a permit to own, not concealed-carry.)
  • “No person, firm, or corporation shall sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer any type of firearm at a gun show until the seller has contacted the Connecticut State Police and requests a background check and receives an authorization number from the Commissioner of the Connecticut State Police.”
  • “A permit to carry is required to carry a handgun outside one’s home (even though one may still be on his own property) or in any place of business in which one is merely an employee, not an owner or operator. A permit is also required to transport a handgun back and forth between one’s home and place of business, or to and from a range for target shooting.”In order to receive a state permit to Carry Pistol and Revolvers, a local permit must be obtained first.  Out-of-state residents may apply for a non-resident Connecticut State Pistol Permit, and apply directly to the Connecticut State Police.”
  • “It is unlawful to possess a firearm on public or private elementary or secondary school property. This prohibition shall not apply to a person with a firearm carrying permit, with permission from school officials, or while traversing school property with an unloaded firearm for the purpose of gaining access to lands open to hunting or for other lawful purposes, provided entry is not prohibited by school officials.”
  • “No person shall possess any “assault weapon” unless that person possessed that firearm before October 1, 1993 and received a certificate of possession from the Connecticut State Police prior to July 1994.”

From CBS News:

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

“It’s alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America,” he said.

The “safest place in America” had many of the gun laws that are commonly called for. When gun control advocates call for “changing the gun culture” what they mean is changing our gun laws, but here we see that the gun laws failed to have any preventative effect. The question we need to ask gun control advocates when they advocate new laws is how those laws would have specifically stopped this massacre from occurring?

CBS News also reminds us of the worst school massacre in our history occurred in 1927 in Bath Township, MI, “when a former school board member set off three bombs that killed 45 people.”

From Wikipedia:

The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, which killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, four other adults and the bomber himself; at least 58 people were injured. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–11 years of age [1]) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history and the fourth-deadliest massacre in U.S. history, behind the Oklahoma City bombing, the Mountain Meadows massacre and 9/11.

The bomber was school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe, 55 who died in a car bomb he set off after he drove up to the school as the crowd gathered to rescue survivors from the burning school.

On the morning of May 18, Kehoe murdered his wife by beating her to death, then set his farm buildings afire. As fire fighters arrived at the farm, an explosion devastated the north wing of the school building, killing many schoolchildren. He used a detonator to ignite dynamite and hundreds of pounds of pyrotol which he had secretly planted inside the school over the course of many months. As rescuers started gathering at the school, Kehoe drove up, stopped, and detonated a bomb inside his fragmentation-filled vehicle with his Winchester rifle, killing himself and the school superintendent, and killing and injuring several others. During rescue efforts searchers discovered an additional 500 pounds (230 kg) of unexploded dynamite and pyrotol planted throughout the basement of the school’s south wing. Kehoe apparently had intended to blow up and destroy the whole school.

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