After pro-gun activists challenged a gun safety law passed by Gov. Dannell Malloy following the Sandy Hook shooting, an Oct. 19 federal appeals court ruling upheld the law.
Malloy banned the sale and purchase of nearly 200 semi-automatic assault weapons and all magazines that can hold over 10 rounds of ammunition in April 2013, five months after 20 first-graders and six teachers were killed with a semi-automatic rifle at a Newtown elementary school. A coalition of firearms manufacturers and dealers, Second Amendment-rights activists and gun enthusiasts brought a 10-plaintiff lawsuit against Connecticut citing Second Amendment violations in May 2013. The plaintiffs lost the case -— Shew v. Malloy — in the state District Court in January 2014 and lost their appeal in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month.
Malloy said in a statement that the court’s decision is a step in the right direction for Connecticut and the country as a whole.
“Connecticut would be better off if every state and the federal government enacted similar, sensible gun safety rules,” he said.
Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizen’s Defense League and a plaintiff in the suit, told the News that he hopes Malloy’s law will eventually be struck down, even if they must go through the Supreme Court.
Wilson said the law will not reduce massacres caused by guns because mass shootings often occur in gun-free zones, such as schools and theaters. Guns can keep people safe when properly monitored by the government, he added.
“There are a lot of people who don’t like the notion of firearms but, and I’ve been saying this for years, let people who are licensed, trained and law-abiding have the ability to protect themselves,” Wilson said.
Still, on Yale’s largely liberal campus, some students said the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms should not apply to semi-automatic weapons.
Adam Chase ’19 said he supports the Second Amendment but the rights it guarantees should not be limitless. He said the types of guns now available were not in existence when the Constitution was written, adding that it is unclear the Constitution’s authors would have permitted the public use of such guns.
He added that guns are also used differently today than how the Constitution intended for people to use them.
“People get caught up in what the constitution said rather than considering the spirit of what it meant,” Chase said, adding that giving people guns for self-defense will not decrease crime rates.
Andreas Ravichandran ’19 said tighter gun control is a Second Amendment violation, but an infringement that is worthwhile.
He said it is justifiable to curtail rights — even those in the constitution — if they are in the interest of public safety.
“It’s similar to how my free speech doesn’t let me shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” he said.
The gun used at Sandy Hook — a semiautomatic Bushmaster AR-15 rifle — had a magazine that could fire 154 rounds in less than five minutes. It is now banned in Connecticut.