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Will Survivors of Domestic Abuse and Retired Police Turn Into “Sitting Ducks”?

A discussion on the adverse consequences that the disclosure of the names and addresses of pistol permit holders will have

Will survivors of domestic abuse and retired police turn into “Sitting Ducks”? They could if State Rep. Stephen D. Dargan, D-West Haven has his way.

Dargan has introduced a bill that will overturn a law passed over 20 years ago that keeps private the names and addresses of gun owners. Instead, he wants to make the names and addresses of pistol permit holders subject to FOI requests.

Has Dargan stopped to consider the negative consequences of his idea?

 What will happen to women who own guns and are hiding from crazy exes? Or, to the rape survivors that own guns, but are still petrified of their attacker? Does Dargan want to give their tormentors, a road-map to their front doors?

Moreover, if Representative Dargan succeeds in his disclosure efforts, how will it affect the lives of retired police officers? The very criminals these officers put in jail will gain access to the officers’ families. When our men and women in blue took the oath to “protect and serve”, they choose to place themselves in harm’s way. Now some vote-pandering officeholder thinks the officer’s family is fair game.

Not to mention that individuals who do not own guns will be more vulnerable to burglaries and home invasion. It is only common sense. Why risk a confrontation with an armed homeowner, when the person next door does not have a weapon? In fact if criminals, can “target” neighborhoods armed with better information EVERYONE will be less safe, and there will be more guns on the street because thieves will know exactly where to go to steal them.

The Newtown massacre is a tragedy beyond description. Nevertheless, the means by which politicians are trying to deal with its aftermath is insanity to the utmost degree.

And Dargan is not alone. His proposal follows another bill recently filed that seeks to limit who can own gun ammunition in Connecticut. Do our legislators know thatConnecticut has some of the strictest gun control laws in the Nation? Do they not understand that more laws will not stop the next Adam Lanza because the mentally ill cannot make rational decisions? Don't they recognize criminals are lawbreakers?  Therefore levying more restrictions on the law-abiding did not make sense - that is until I heard Representative Dargan speaking to a reporter on the 11 o’clock news.

Dargan said, “He wants gun ownership information to fallunder the state's Freedom of Information Act in part so that parents can know whether the parents of their child's friends have guns in their homes. Maybe their kids are going over to JohnnySmith's, and maybe they want to see whether they have guns in the house”. When asked about Sandy Hook Dargan said, “Maybe you want to know if the neighbor with the disturbed child owns guns”.

OUCH!  What exactly is a "disturbed child" in the eyes of Representative Dargan?And, does he want to impose gun control by way of peer pressure? It sure looks that way because his bill will essentially make it easier to pick on the children of gun owners, maybe isolate a few kids so parents will “willingly” disarm.  Really? Because that would be disgusting even for a left wing radical democrat

There is no doubt Connecticut is facing a gun violence epidemic. People are using guns to cause mayhem and heartache. However, their actions are only but a symptom of our real dilemmas. such as an administration and legislature that is soft of criminals. The Early Release Bill passed by the Democrat majority and signed by the Governor illustrates this. Violent felons let out of prison even earlier are sent back to their old neighborhoods without a job, or a place to live. Recently my husband came across one of them. Fortunately, the man was only begging for food – come to find out he got out of prison that very day. The Dept. of Corrections dropped him off at a corner in the North End of Hartford – and when he got to his girlfriend’s house, he learned she moved away and did not leave an address. Guess the department of corrections did not bother to check where their new probationer would be living. 

Another major problem facing our state is poverty. Poverty has worsened due to the rising unemployment that continued to increase even after passage of a failed Jobs Bill adopted with bi-partisan support.

An added issue in Connecticut is a lack of mental health resources. Even as patient protection is vital, our laws make it next to impossible for the parents of mentally ill adults to get help for their children. The Newtown massacre demonstrated it. Nancy Lanza tried to get help for her son, but regulations made the help unattainable. So over-legislating is one of the many pieces in the puzzle of whom or what is to blame for Nancy’s death and the subsequent murder of twenty-six others. 

Imposing restrictions on the law abiding gun owners who are NOT the ones engaging in violent behavior will not save lives; in fact, it will accomplish nothing except maybe painting a target on the backs of the innocent. Dargan and his colleagues acting as though they are addressing our problems by  trying to pass ineffective legislation illustrates that  choosing what is popular as opposed to what is right, is an easy choice for politicians to make.

Tackling our troubles would require that our leaders engage in difficult discussions, make tough choices and render very unpopular decisions. However, is that not the job of a legislator? Yes, it is. However, few (both sides of the aisle) have the grit, courage, determination and endurance required to stay the course.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michaela I. Fissel January 08, 2013 at 11:54 PM
I understand that there a myriad of mental disorders as I am in Psychology Graduate Student in my final semester and I have applied the DSM in practice. I do not believe that anyone without clinical training and licensure should be making any assumptions as to what Lanza's clinical diagnosis would be. Even using the term mentally ill reflects a lack of understanding and compassion for the hundreds of thousands of individuals within our state who experience the symptoms of mental health and substance related disorders. What does, "as a society we need to stop wearing our feelings on our shirtsleeve," mean? There is no way to verify that Adam's mother was actually seeking to have him committed, and it is possible that this is just a rumor that was picked up by the media to keep the masses hooked on the theory that Adam was, as you say, "mentally ill". You are speaking from one side of a long-standing debate, and the majority of advocates and professionals do not support your position that individuals should be forced to comply with mental health and addiction treatment - thankfully. Even if individuals were able to be forced, that wouldn't have stopped the majority of violence because the individuals who committed the crimes never demonstrated behaviors that indicated they would carry out violence against others prior to the acts.
Michaela I. Fissel January 08, 2013 at 11:58 PM
I would strongly suggest that you read the following articles from leading mental health advocates in the state; including Jan Van Tassel, JD, of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Matthew S. Lebowitz, Yale Doctoral Candidate, Robert Davidson, Ph.D., Director of Eastern Mental Health Board, and Kate Mattias, JD, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Connecticut. http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-vantassel-forced-mental-health-treatment-wro-20130107,0,4651465.story http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/newtown-sandy-hook-school-shooting/hc-op-fresh-talk-lebowitz-people-with-mental-illne-20121231,0,2938729.story http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/newtown-sandy-hook-school-shooting/hc-op-davidson-mental-illness-blameless-in-shootin-20121228,0,2101739.story http://www.ctmirror.org/story/18527/welcoming-and-wary-focus-mental-health
Malvi Lennon January 09, 2013 at 12:24 AM
@Michaela: We will have to agree to disagree. By the way, I would like to see the law change with regard to mandatory outpatient treatment - but only for cases of serious mental illness. I never said anything about substance abuse.
Michaela I. Fissel January 09, 2013 at 12:36 AM
I guess that points to the looming question: How would you operationalize serious mental illness?
Malvi Lennon January 09, 2013 at 06:43 PM
I think you missed the point of my blog. I am writing about proposed gun control legislation, which I believe, will do nothing to curve gun violence and will jeopardize many people. I agree we need to look at the epidemic of violence. I also believe that mental health is one of the topics that need to be discussed. I would love to see a panel made up of mental health professionals, relatives of folks afflicted with mental health issues, patients to the extent possible, law enforcement, clergy and educators holding discussions and invite the public to attend. We have a problem that needs solving but restricting and endangering law-abiding citizens is to it. Instead of trying to find substantive answers politicians play games introducing useless pieces of legislation like Proposed Bill No. 5112 AN ACT CONCERNING THE DISCLOSURE OF THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF PERSONS HOLDING HANDGUN PERMITS.

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