Long Lines as Gun Owners Race to Meet Registration Deadline

By Audrey Washington, LeAnne Gendreau and Doug Greene
|  Tuesday, Dec 31, 2013  |  Updated 12:31 PM EDT
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Under new gun control laws, residents must register to keep any high-capacity magazines along with guns that are deemed assault weapons

Audrey Washington, Steve Pancione

Under new gun control laws, residents must register to keep any high-capacity magazines along with guns that are deemed assault weapons

Long lines extended again from Connecticut State Police headquarters in Middletown Tuesday morning as gun owners raced to comply with new gun laws that go into effect on Jan. 1.

New gun laws were enacted after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December 2012 that took the lives of 20 first graders and six staff members. Tuesday is the year-end deadline for gun owners to register certain assault weapons as well as high-capacity magazines.

Gun owners who are not registered could face criminal charges because the new gun laws make some weapons illegal contraband in the state.

Gov. Dannel Malloy apologized for similarly long lines on Monday. By the afternoon, officials went outside to collect finished forms so that the only people who needed to go inside were those who needed thumbprints or affidavits.

As of Christmas, 25,000 people had registered assault weapons and 17,000 registered high-capacity magazines, Malloy said Monday. That number is sure to rise after hundreds of people waited in line on the final two days of 2013, rushing to meet the deadline. 

There are separate processes for assault weapons certificates and large-capacity magazines, according to state police.

For those who bought magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, the owner must declare them separately.

Those who do not have proof of purchase for a weapon must bring a notarized affidavit.

Gun control advocates pushed for the stricter regulations, hoping to cut down on gun violence, but many gun owners have disagreed with the changes.

If gun owners don’t have proof of purchase, they must get a notarized affidavit.

“I didn’t really think it was necessary,” said Kelley Hanke, who spent Friday afternoon registering her guns.

She said the process was more than just an inconvenience. 

“I think this is going a little too far with gun control,” Hanke said. But Hanke is willing to do it if it’s going to help someone else get to the root of the problem, she said.

“We're glad people are abiding by the law,” Lt. Paul Vance said last week.

State Senator Toni Boucher, a Republican from Wilton, is calling for a 60- to 90-day extension on the requirements.

"I wrote to the Commissioner of DESPP back in August urging the agency to properly inform the public.  Now we are at the eleventh hour and still people have no answers as to whether their applications have been received before the deadline,” Boucher said in a statement.

Forms must be to postmarked or in the hands of state police by Dec. 31. Any forms that are not sent in on time will be returned to the applicant unprocessed, according to state police.

State police headquarters will be open until 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Connecticut residents with any questions should call 860-685-8290.

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