The first person charged under Connecticut’s controversial gun control law appears to be a 65-year-old Milford man, who is in trouble with police because he shot a squirrel – with a legal gun.
Police were in James Toigo’s neighborhood directing traffic when they heard a gunshot. Toigo acknowledged shooting the squirrel, although police say he did not use his so-called assault rifle to do it. Such rifles are now illegal in the state, but residents who already had them when the law went into effect could register them under a grandfather clause.
“As the investigation progressed the officers seized several firearms from the home for safe keeping,” Officer Jeffrey Nielsen told the New Haven Register. “That included the assault rifle and the three high capacity magazine he did not have registered.”
Nielsen said the majority of Toigo’s firearms were registered.
Toigo was charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, cruelty to an animal, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree breach of peace, failure to register an assault rifle and three counts of possessing large-capacity magazines, according to the newspaper.
Widespread Failure To Register
Among the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation, the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act appears to have led to thousands of gun owners refusing to register their AR-15s and other types of weapons, for fear of having the government know they have them. Other gun owners may simply not know about the law yet.
Possession of an unregistered rifle is a felony.
“Even supporters of the law now widely acknowledge that tens of thousands of existing firearms and untold numbers of magazines have not been registered as required,” a blog post from the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legal Action (NRA-ILA) noted. “In other words, Connecticut’s politicians have created from whole cloth an entirely new class of criminals. These are otherwise ordinary people who work at legitimate jobs, pay taxes, and undoubtedly in many cases are raising families and running businesses that employ others and contribute to the general welfare of the state.”
The act bans any weapon or clip that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Another NRA-ILA blog noted that the law effectively bans more than 100 common types of firearms.
Law Enforcement In Chaos?
The chaos even extends to the Connecticut State Police (CSP), the NRA learned. The agency seems to have no organized plan to enforce the Act, the NRA discovered.
Different police officials gave different answers to inquiries about a news story carried by Off the Grid News and other media outlets. The story stated that some Connecticut gun owners who tried to comply with the law and get a permit to legally keep such weapons instead got a letter from the CSP ordering them to dispose of the guns.
Some officials denied the existence of the letter, while others stated it existed but had never been mailed. When NRA officials pressed the issue, police leaders admitted that the letter was real and had actually been mailed.
“Nevertheless, the officials insisted it was not a warning of later confiscation but a ‘public service’ to advise gun owners whose registrations were rejected of their options,” the NRA-ILA blog stated.
“Simply put, the rule of law has broken down in Connecticut and the [Governor Daniel] Malloy administration’s and CSP’s credibility on this issue has been severely compromised,” the bog added.
A US District Court Judge upheld the law. The NRA, gun store owners and a number of organizations challenged the law in a case called Shew v. Malloy. The ruling is being appealed.