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State Police To Gunmakers: No More Advice On Designs
Hartford Courant (CT) ^ | July 12, 2013 | DAN HAAR

Posted on 07/15/2013 11:14:50 AM PDT by neverdem

Back in May, a month after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the state’s gun control law, Stag Arms of New Britain came up with a modified design and took it to the state police firearms unit to see whether it would pass muster.

The unit was helpful, even making a design suggestion that would help assure the gun would not be classified as an illegal assault weapon. Stag prepared to make the rifle, a .22-caliber version of the military-style AR-15.

Then in June, the state legislature tightened the law in order to correct a few problems. Stag returned with an updated model, seeking an opinion.

But this time, the firearms unit had a different answer.

“I was told to get a lawyer, figure it out and if I’m wrong I’m going to have to deal with it,” said Mark Malkowski, the Stag Arms owner and president. “It’s my responsibility to interpret…I was told we were no longer allowed to bring prototypes in.”

That means Stag, and any other manufacturer seeking to design a rifle within the rules, and any retailer who offers that product in Connecticut, must take a risk when it comes to figuring out a regulation — a high risk, since selling assault weapons could be viewed as a crime.

It seems reasonable to ask a law enforcement agency to tell citizens what is and is not legal. We expect that of town building departments, tax authorities and countless other local, state and federal offices.

Part of the problem is time. The firearms unit, with four state police detectives and about a dozen civilian employees, is performing a heroic task these days. This is far from the only law the unit must enforce, but this law alone has kept the place on overdrive since the instant Malloy signed it at lunchtime on April 4.

“The first six weeks was pretty much insanity,” said State Police Det. Ken Damato, who helped Stag initially and responded to the manufacturer’s second request for an interpretation. “People were calling us for interpretations and we hadn’t even read the bill ourselves.”

On top of the initial rush of retail and distribution issues, the unit, located in Middletown, must also oversee the process of setting up permits and registrations for rifles, magazines and ammunition purchases. The unit is sending out directives and continues to answer questions.

“We get anywhere from 20 to 50 inquiries a day from different retailers,” said Damato, who is also a lawyer. “We try to give them an understanding of what their obligations are under the law.”

The line is drawn, though, for manufacturers seeking a yea or nay opinion on new designs — and not just because of time concerns, Damato said.

“We’re not engineers,” Damato said. “We’re not arbiters of weapons construction. Stag or any other manufacturer is clearly capable of reading a law which sets forth in great detail the identifiers of an assault weapon, what is now classified as an assault weapon, as well as us. They don’t really need us to be vetting their products, nor is that really our function.”

Malkowski and Nick Discenza, a Stag sales manager who worked with the firearms unit, see it differently. “He was very apologetic and said the state police are no longer part of the vetting process,” Discenza said of Damato. But Discenza added, “How can you not tell people what they can and cannot make?”

It’s a good question and in this case the gunmakers — including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry group that’s troubled by the policy — are right.

Malkowski points out that he’s not coming to the firearms unit with concepts, drawings and ideas, but finished prototypes that actually fire bullets. The company is ready to present a design with a new type of grip that may or may not meet the law, he said, depending on the size of the shooter’s fingers. That’s obviously a tough call.

Malkowski and Discenza wondered whether the unit received an order after the media widely reported that state police offered advice the first time around. That might make sense, since it’s no secret that Malloy and many legislators are in a running tiff with the gunmakers, and some resented Stag’s efforts to design a new AR-15 under the law.

But Damato said, “We’ve received no directive from staff command that we’re not to communicate with manufacturers.”

This is an easy fix. The firearms unit, to repeat, is performing heroically under battle conditions. These are men and women, sworn officers and civilians, who understand the products, speak the language and have the respect of the industry — unlike the elected officials who created the law.

Attorney General George Jepsen should determine who, exactly, is the final arbiter of firearms design, presumably the state police firearms unit. That agency must be given enough resources to do its job immediately, including overtime and hiring if necessary.

And the agency must be empowered to give an up or down answer any time a gunmaker comes in with an actual prototype — not a concept, a gun that fires.

If the state wants to put 3,000 jobs at risk in the name of perceived public safety, it can do that. It can’t ask those 3,000 people to risk their legal health by figuring out a law that’s hard to interpret even for the agency in charge of doing so.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: Connecticut
KEYWORDS: banglist; guncontrol; secondamendment

1 posted on 07/15/2013 11:14:50 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Their lawyer will likely recommend they quit modifying the design and move to Texas.

2 posted on 07/15/2013 11:16:56 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: neverdem

They don’t want people to comply with the law. They want the law broken so they can restrict more people from their 2nd amendment rights.

3 posted on 07/15/2013 11:18:10 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: neverdem

So if, by their own admission, the cops are unable to identify an assault weapon, they must clearly be unable to charge anyone with unlawful possession of an unidentifiable object.

4 posted on 07/15/2013 11:28:48 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Don't fire until you see the blue of their helmets)
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To: driftdiver
“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against... We’re after power and we mean it... There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.” (”Atlas Shrugged”, 1957)

5 posted on 07/15/2013 11:33:51 AM PDT by null and void (Republicans create the tools of oppression, and the democrats gleefully use them!)
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To: neverdem

How is this any different from building plans?

You submit plans and specs, they approve, approve as noted or reject?

6 posted on 07/15/2013 11:50:53 AM PDT by DUMBGRUNT
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To: neverdem
“I was told to get a lawyer, figure it out and if I’m wrong I’m going to have to deal with it,” said Mark Malkowski, the Stag Arms owner and president

So the police are suggesting that the law is unconstitutionally vague.

7 posted on 07/15/2013 12:00:09 PM PDT by Spirochete (Does the FedGov have the attributes of a legitimate government?)
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To: thackney

I wonder why ANY of the gun manufacturers are putting up with this crap... Issue a statement as to what is going on in the state, pack up and move out!

And once you are clearly out of their jurisdiction, issue another statement about how you won’t sell ANY firearms to ANYONE in the state... The citizens will have to get control of their local governments or no one but criminals will have firearms!

A good plan for ALL the gun manufacturers...

8 posted on 07/15/2013 12:58:45 PM PDT by bfh333 ("Hope"... "Change"... You better HOPE you have some CHANGE after the next 4 years!)
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To: neverdem
“It’s my responsibility to interpret...


'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,
' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'  

9 posted on 07/15/2013 1:00:13 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: neverdem

My Advice to the Gun Manufacturers is to Not sell a firearm or munition to any Law Enforcement Agency affiliated with the State Of Connecticut.

These Gun Grabbers have to pay.

While we’re at it Dannel Malloy’s security detail should be reduced to only One State Trooper.Why is his life any more valuable than your average Citizen of Connecticut?

10 posted on 07/15/2013 1:04:15 PM PDT by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: neverdem

‘Discenza added, “How can you not tell people what they can and cannot make?” ‘

This shows the stupidity of Stag Arms ownership and employees. This also tells me why they still manufacture in CT. Too stupid to leave.

Think like free men and fight like free men.

11 posted on 07/15/2013 1:08:54 PM PDT by AlmaKing
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To: neverdem

They can recommend that to avoid risk, no firearms be sold to government entities in Connecticut.

12 posted on 07/15/2013 1:31:56 PM PDT by donmeaker (Blunderbuss: A short weapon, ... now superceded in civilized countries by more advanced weaponry.)
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To: AlmaKing

Stag makes quality firearms and was the first to make a true left handed AR style carbine. Yes, they should leave CT as the state is a foe of our Second Amendment rights.

13 posted on 07/15/2013 2:34:22 PM PDT by RicocheT (Where neither their property nor their honor is touched, most men live content, Niccolo Machiavelli)
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To: neverdem

taking of busines via regulation.

taking is taking.

they did this BS with motorcycle helmets.

The process is self certification. The police maintain a list of approved helmets. the police never approve helmets.

14 posted on 07/15/2013 2:37:23 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! and
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To: neverdem; campaignPete R-CT

Dirty bastards.

15 posted on 07/15/2013 11:46:38 PM PDT by Impy (Go looting for Trayvon!!! He'd want you to have a new tv!!!)
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To: neverdem

Starve the beast .... Leave these socialist states. Vote with your dollars !

16 posted on 07/16/2013 7:48:04 AM PDT by Squantos ( Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet ...)
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