More Gun Permits and More Gun Sales in and Around Greater Danbury

By

 

Gun control legislation has been a pervasive topic ever since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut this past December. The issue, which has traditionally been third rail for politicians, has gained so much attention  that lawmakers may be forced to try to amend current laws aimed at regulating firearms. The issue has been so hot it has even reeled in reclusive author Stephen King into the public discourse;  King wrote an essay titled “Guns” for purchase on Amazon as a Kindle Single.

 

John Giannettino, owner of Shooters Pistol Range in New Milford said he sees a link between legislation and an increase in business at his range.

 

“There have been a lot of people coming in looking for anything and everything,” said Giannettino in an interview. “It’s pretty much a direct correlation between what they’re doing in the government as far as what bans they’re planning on instituting.”

 

Giannettino cites fear of government intervention and personal safety as contributing factors to the increase in sales, and he’s also seeing a large cross section of customers in terms of age, including first time gun owners of 70 years or older.

 

“So there’s people who are well within their 70s and 80s who haven’t picked up a pistol in their entire life who are coming in and getting the pistol permit class and picking up shooting strictly because they’re afraid the government is going to take that right away from them,” he explained. “Either that or some of them are scared enough of what’s going on in society, such as the incident at Sandy Hook School, that they need to protect themselves and in their mind obtaining that pistol will make them feel more secure.”

 

“I’ve had people say that they wouldn’t want me to show them a gun in my house, friends of mine, adult people. They don’t want to touch the gun because something could happen. That’s just plain ignorance.”

 

-Brian Malloy, 74, former member of the NRA

 

Giannettino’s experience is corroborated by statistics the Danbury Police provided in an email, which showed a significant increase in pistol permit requests since December, 14, 2012. There have been 53 pistol permit requests since the Sandy Hook School shooting as of January 28, 2013; by comparison, there were 17 pistol permits issued between December of 2011 and January of 2012, which indicates more than a 300 percent increase.

 

This reporter’s uncle, Robert Dietter, 73, of Hamden, is one such person who recently applied for a pistol permit and purchased a firearm for the first time. He stated in a phone interview that his entry into firearm ownership was for “personal protection” and cited societal changes and potential changes in permit acquisitions as catalysts.

 

“Society has changed so much, there’s a lot more home invasions that are going to be taking place,” he said. “I guess you’ll find out now that it’s going to be a lot harder to get a permit than it was in the past.”

 

Dietter believes that fear is a motivating factor for why people advocate so fervently for gun control.

 

“People fear guns. Most people are totally unknowledgeable about guns. They never grew up with guns.”

 

He says he is bothered by the inconsistency he hears in conversations about gun control legislation, which he feels have focused more on which firearms to limit or eradicate rather than on minimizing the illegal possession and use of firearms.

 

“Number one is going after people who are doing things illegally and giving them a punishment when they’re about doing it again.”

 

“Federal gun control legislation is directly contrary to the 2nd Amendment. Since there is no constitutional grant to Congress of power to regulate firearms, it also violates the 10th Amendment, which says that all powers not delegated to the Federal Government or denied by the Constitution to the states are reserved to the states.”

 

-Kevin Gutzman, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution

 

Brian Malloy, 74 of Killingworth,  is a former 15-year member of the National Rifle Association(NRA). He considers himself a knowledgeable person when it comes to firearms and is a proponent of new gun control legislation, specifically an assault weapons ban. Malloy qualified as an expert marksman in the Army National Guard, where he served for seven years. Malloy has owned firearms for 65 years and hunts regularly with rifles and shotguns. He left the NRA because he does not agree with their position concerning assault weapons.

 

“The fact that they think it’s necessary to own automatic weapons, even semi-automatic weapons and assault style weapons,” he said in an interview. “They think it’s okay for people to own a sniper rifle, which can fire a round up to five miles. Those kinds of things I think are totally out of line. So I decided to separate myself from that group.”

 

Even though he is a proponent of stricter gun control, Malloy also feels that fear and ignorance contributes to strong emotions surrounding guns and gun control.

 

“I’ve had people say that they wouldn’t want me to show them a gun in my house, friends of mine, adult people,” Malloy said. “They don’t want to touch the gun because something could happen. That’s just plain ignorance.”

 

While Malloy respects the anti-gun control advocates’ concerns that new legislation will create a slippery slope, he still feels stricter legislation is needed.

 

“There’s always that risk, but we’re at a point in this country where we have to put controls on the situation up to a certain point,” he stated. “Probably the most important thing right now is enforcing the rules that are on the books already.”

 

Another perspective often left out of the mainstream media is the constitutionality of federal gun control. Kevin Gutzman, a professor of history at Western Connecticut State University, has written four books on early American history and the American Constitution. His first book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution was a New York Times Best Seller. He gave his interpretation of the Second Amendment in an email:

 

“The 2nd Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, is about limiting the power of the Federal Government. It recognizes the individual right to own firearms… One ongoing function of the militias would be to enable the states to protect themselves against the new Federal Government.”

 

He added that any federal gun control legislation would not reconcile with the intention and purpose of the Bill of Rights.

 

“Federal gun control legislation is directly contrary to the 2nd Amendment. Since there is no constitutional grant to Congress of power to regulate firearms, it also violates the 10th Amendment, which says that all powers not delegated to the Federal Government or denied by the Constitution to the states are reserved to the states.”

 

While strong emotions make gun control a polarizing subject, there appears to be some common ground between gun control advocates and gun rights advocates, specifically in enforcing current laws, expanding background checks, and training gun owners effectively. More common ground will be needed, however, to avoid significant backlash if and when any changes are made to the emotional and politically charged issue of gun control.

by & filed under Local, Local News, Politics, at Home & Abroad, Top Stories.