Conn. gun crackdown seems to work



Adapted from Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

After a lunatic young gunman murdered 20 first graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, Nutmeg State legislators in  2013 broadened the definition of “assault rifle’’ and the sale of gun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. State law also requires a permit to buy any gun or ammunition. And Connecticut has a registry of weapon offenders and a universal background check system.

Ron Piniciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, told WNPR that the state had 53 homicides with guns in 2016, way down from the 92 before the new law took effect.  But then, southern New England has long had among the lowest gun-death rates in America.

Interestingly, reports WNPR, gun sales are still rising in the state. But Mike Lawlor, Connecticut’s undersecretary for criminal-justice policy and planning, says the rigorous permitting process keeps down the violence.

There have been variants of the Connecticut legislation promoted in Congress but as long as the National Rifle Association, which acts as chief lobbyist for the gun-manufacturing industry, holds sway there, don’t expect anything. Polls suggest that most Americans want tougher gun laws, but that counts for little on Capitol Hill!

Gun-control advocates lack the lobbying and campaign-contribution money of the weapons industry and, whatever the opinion polls show, gun lovers vote more intensely than do gun-control folks. And the gun lobby and its servants in Congress and the White House are far more politically ruthless than are gun-control people. For that matter, on a range of issues from health care to taxes to the environment, the majority of the public seems to favor slightly left-of-center positions, if national opinion polls mean much. But they vote at considerably lower percentages than do people on the right. They get the government they deserve.