Since 1999, the state has seized more than 2,000 weapons from Connecticut gun owners under a law meant to protect people from harming themselves and/or others.
The New Haven Register takes an in-depth look at that law today and says some believe the Newtown tragedy will likely cause gun seizures to spike.
According to the state Office of Legislative Research: "State law allows police, after investigating and determining probable cause, to get a court warrant and seize guns from anyone posing an imminent risk of harming himself or someone else. A judge must hold a hearing within 14 days after the seizure and order the police to hold the guns for up to one year or return them. The judge (1) must, when assessing probable cause, consider recent acts of violence, threatening, or animal cruelty and (2) may, when assessing imminent risk, consider such factors as reckless gun use or display, violent threats, alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, and prior involuntary psychiatric confinement."
The Register says that proponents say the law has saved lives, and that if more people knew about it, the law could save more. However, people such as attorney Rachel Baird of Torrington, whom the Register says has represented clients who have had guns seized under the law, told the newspaper she believes more complaints will be filed because of Newtown and that people who own firearms "are subject to more scrutiny."
Gun control, and keeping guns out of the hands of unstable people, has been on the minds of people across the world since the Sandy Hook school massacre on Dec. 14. Here in Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the formation of a committee last week that will look at ways to improve public safety, particularly in schools, and will determine if changes are warranted in the areas of mental health treatment and gun control.
Gun control laws, such as the seizure ban and state laws regarding gun registration and the amount of ammunition one can purchase, will be closely scrutinized by the committee.
"I think it's time we have a realistic discussion about the weapons that are being used time and time again in these mass causality situations," Malloy said. "I mean it would be stupid not to have that conversation."