Connecticut to create a gun-offender registry?

February 11th, 2011

It’s like a sex offender registry, except for people who commit gun crimes! Woe for the Constitute State. From the Hartford Courant:

A measure that would create the nation’s first statewide registry for gun offenders went before lawmakers Thursday at a public hearing on a package of gun bills.

The gun-offender database, modeled after the sex-offender registry, would give police a potent new tool to combat violence, said Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-New Haven), who proposed the idea.

Several cities, including New York City, Baltimore and Washington D.C., have established such requirements for gun offenders, but no state has done so, Looney said.

Why is this necessary? Aren’t people who commit crimes already in nationwide databases?

During the hearing before the legislature’s public safety committee, several lawmakers questioned why the registry was needed. They pointed out that a national crime database already contains information about gun offenders. But Looney and other supporters said the registry, unlike the national database, would give law enforcement the ability to pinpoint where the offenders live.

Crime databases keep addresses, but do not give people an affirmative obligation to register and update their adress when they move. So people with gun offenses would be required to register and check in with local authorities:

Just as those convicted of sex offenses must check in with local authorities, gun offenders would be required to register with local police. But unlike the sex-offender registry, the information on gun offenders would be accessible only to law enforcement officials.

The requirement would apply to people who committed serious gun violations such as those who used a firearm to commit a crime, Looney said. “No law-abiding citizen or sportsman would have anything to fear from this bill,” he said.

Right…. Of course no law-abiding citizen would need to worry. This bill targets people, who by definition, broke the law.

A few initial thoughts…

And what happens if a person with a gun offense fails to register? Back to jail?

What about the stigma? Comparing people who commit gun crimes to sex offenders? And I don’t think this is limited to violent crimes. Merely owning a gun without a permit is a crime. Bam. Registry.

As it stands, people with gun offenses cannot own a firearm for life. What more does Connecticut want? With sex offender registries, the purpose is deterrence because they are likely to reoffend. Does the same consideration exist here?