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Atty. Ralph D. Sherman

130 West Main Street • New Britain, Connecticut 06052
tel. (860) 229-0213 • fax (860) 229-0235 • e-mail


Legal Opinion

April 1998

A shift in public opinion

Two months ago I promised a column on suitability and pistol permits. Because of recent events, I'm going to interrupt myself again.

I'm sure that anyone reading this column knows about the murders at Lottery headquarters, and about HB 5746, the bill that Rep. Lawlor introduced a few days after the murders.

I think there's a lesson to be gleaned from the response that came after the bill was introduced. First, a little background.

HB 5746, would allow anyone to post a sign at his home or business to prohibit concealed carry, even for permit holders. If you're a permit holder, you don't need me to tell you that this is a frightening proposal that would strip the right of self defense from law-abiding individuals.

On the other hand, if you're a member of Handgun Control, Inc., you probably won't change your mind based on any comments I make here.

The fact is, the people who need to be reached on these political issues are those in the middle-those who vote but neither own guns nor think they should be banned.

Five to 10 years ago, when the Handgun Control crowd started pushing very hard on "assault weapons," a lot of those people in the middle were moved by TV images of black guns and cliches like "weapon of choice."

Today, I think those people in the middle-including those in the General Assembly-have become much more sophisticated.

Within a week after the Lottery murders, Governor Rowland said publicly that new laws won't stop a madman, that new laws should not be enacted in the heat of emotion, and that Connecticut already has some of the toughest gun laws in the United States. I think that the silent majority, that group in the middle, has come to agree with him. I think they see, after all these years of "gun control," that more restrictions on permit holders will not make anyone safer.

Remarkably, even the Hartford Courant adopted this position, in an editorial published March 25. Yes, the Courant would still prefer "banning handguns entirely." But the Courant also wrote: "From what we know of Mr. Beck's mind, it is doubtful he would have been deterred from his deadly mission because he lacked a handgun permit."

I couldn't have said it any better, in the pages of a sportsmen's magazine, delivering my monthly sermon to the choir.


Copyright 1998 by Ralph D. Sherman

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