Weathering the cold on the last day of 2013 was an intentional indignity forced on Connecticut gun owners.
Hundreds lined up in front of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection building in Middletown to register their guns and magazines in order to comply with the state’s perversely-named Gun Violence Prevention and Child Safety Act, enacted the previous April as a kneejerk response to Newtown. That such legislation would do nothing to advance its stated purpose, and would instead make things less safe for the law-abiding, did not matter to those who imposed their will on Constitution State gun owners, another oxymoron that calculating minds in Hartford no doubt took additional pleasure in.
The vocal reaction of some gun owners in other states, those who did not have to make such a terrible choice, was unsympathetic, and often cruel. Accusations of cowardice from Internet commentators posting under screen names were commonplace. That many making such charges had not been put to the test themselves seemed lost on the most aggressive.
If one is to be laying blame on anyone outside of the evil citizen disarmament enactors and their useful idiot enablers, many gun owners would do well to look at the direction of three of their fingers whenever they point one at others. After all, how many of them have filled out Form 4473s, or applied for permits to carry their guns? In light of “shall not be infringed,” are those not acts of surrender?
Lenny Benedetto is a founding member and vice president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, the state’s largest grassroots gun rights group that is leading in the lawsuit to challenge the new law. He spent several hours that morning passing out CCDL cards and talking to those standing in line before a police lieutenant ordered him to stop or be arrested for “soliciting,” and soon found the vast majority of those in line were not members of his group. Many had never even heard of it.
If CCDL had 10, 20, 100 times the committed membership, might the new laws have been stopped in their tracks?
That level of detachment, apathy and non-involvement is hardly exclusive to Connecticut. The same story could be told by the leadership of any number of state gun rights groups, where it’s always a core of dedicated individuals straining to bear a load that could be shared by many but somehow never is. Out of 80 million or so gun owners, look at how few have joined NRA, and how many fewer support the much smaller Gun Owners of America and Second Amendment Foundation.
This must change, and immediately. Because while the freeloaders have been sleeping, a newly-freed-from-office Michael Bloomberg has been quietly setting up professional lobbying groups in the several states, and they’re kicking into high gear now.
If a lot more gun owners don’t get involved, perhaps the bold chatroom warriors will get the chance to demonstrate to their brethren in Connecticut how much better they’ll perform when it’s their turn to show the stuff they’re made of.
By David Codrea