This most recent legislative session passed (modified) two more laws affecting gun owners. First is Public Act 19-5 which requires safe storage of firearms and allows schools to implement optional firearm safety classes. The first part of the law requires gun owners to keep firearms either on their person or in “a securely locked box or other container or in a manner that a reasonable person would believe to be secure” especially if minors (under 18 yrs. old) may gain access to the premises or anyone not eligible to own a firearm or if anyone that “… poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or other individuals…” may gain access to it. The law imposes strict liability on the gun owner for any damages resulting from failing to comply and makes it “criminal negligence” which is a Class D felony. This law does appear to dictate what I consider to be common sense, but unfortunately based on people’s behavior it appears that many in our current society lack common sense, and hence the law. What I find very bothersome is that the official crime will be “Criminally negligent storage of a firearm.” I suspect this may trigger major repercussions for all gun owners with regard to their homeowner’s insurance. If the act is “negligence” then the damages may end up being covered by insurance. Therefore, you may receive a questionnaire from your insurance company for them to assess their risk. Subsequently, you may receive higher premiums, an exclusion of coverage for these types of damages, and/or a refusal to insure if you own a gun. In addition, if you are convicted of “criminal negligence” because it is a felony, you will lose all your rights to possess firearms. The effect of a conviction under this law will be to prohibit you from legally owning a gun. If it truly is a crime of negligence, then punishing someone to this extent is not going to deter that person from doing it again, because it is negligence and because s/he would never have that opportunity to offend again if s/he cannot possess firearms. It appears that the legislature really did not consider this new law as a deterrent for the behavior involved but more as a means to get more guns out of people’s hands.
Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. is located in Hamden, CT and serves clients in and around North Haven, Hamden, Waterbury, Bethany, Milford, Wallingford, Prospect, Woodbridge, Northford, Madison, Beacon Falls, Branford, Cheshire, North Branford, East Haven, Naugatuck, Meriden, Ansonia and New Haven County.
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