Homer’s got a gun!
This the first in an occasional series I’ll call “silly, stupid, contradictory laws that the non-lawyer doesn’t have any chance of understanding”. Beware or you may go to jail for a long time for exercising what you thought was sound judgment.
In Connecticut it’s fairly easy to get a pistol permit. You need to take and pass a firearms safety course. Most gun shops and shooting ranges hold such courses on a regular basis for a reasonable price, and you have to be really retarded not to pass. Once you pass the course you submit your application to local and state police, and if you fulfill certain pre-defined criteria (no discretion allowed by issuing authority [EDIT May 23, 2013: The local issuing authority DOES have discretion to deny, however, this discretion is so seldomly used that CT, while technically a “may issue state”, functionally is a “shall issue” state]) such as you’re twenty-one or older, you’re not crazy, you’re not a convicted felon, you’re not an illegal alien, you will get your permit. It may take a while because government bureaucracy is notoriously slow, but within 2-3 months in most cases you can legally carry a firearm on your person in public, whether it be concealed (concealed carry) or in plain sight (open carry).
But what if I want to carry something less lethal, say some kind of purpose-built stick, or a blunt object to fend of bad guys who want to take your money or rape you? Here is where it gets stupid and silly. I can carry a gun legally, and even legally shoot and kill somebody who wants to do me harm if there is no other course of action available to protect myself. But if I carry a stick I could go to jail, while my daughter’s rapist goes free.
Now I’m not one of those people who think America’s future depends on the right of its citizenry to carry guns. I don’t think society will crumble if certain people aren’t allowed to carry any kind of gun anywhere at any time. I don’t think it’s communism/nazism to have some common-sense rules to back up the 2nd amendment. On election day I consider the candidates’ stands on many things before I cast my vote, and gun rights are, frankly, not at the top of my list. But I simply abhor stupidity. If I can carry a gun (lethal), I should also be allowed to carry a stick, bat, baton, stun gun, mace/pepper spray (all non-lethal) if I so choose. The way the law in Connecticut is written a bear in the woods may potentially sue me if I beat it off with a broken-off tree branch while its trying to get away with my picnic basket. Read and/or weep as you see fit.
2005 Connecticut Code – Sec. 53-206. Carrying of dangerous weapons prohibited.
Sec. 53-206. Carrying of dangerous weapons prohibited. (a) Any person who carries upon his or her person any BB. gun, blackjack, metal or brass knuckles, or any dirk knife, or any switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which a blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches in length, or stiletto, or any knife the edged portion of the blade of which is four inches or over in length, any police baton or nightstick, or any martial arts weapon or electronic defense weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than three years or both. Whenever any person is found guilty of a violation of this section, any weapon or other instrument within the provisions of this section, found upon the body of such person, shall be forfeited to the municipality wherein such person was apprehended, notwithstanding any failure of the judgment of conviction to expressly impose such forfeiture.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to (1) any officer charged with the preservation of the public peace while engaged in the pursuit of such officer’s official duties; (2) the carrying of a baton or nightstick by a security guard while engaged in the pursuit of such guard’s official duties; (3) the carrying of a knife, the edged portion of the blade of which is four inches or over in length, by (A) any member of the armed forces of the United States, as defined in section 27-103, or any reserve component thereof, or of the armed forces of this state, as defined in section 27-2, when on duty or going to or from duty, (B) any member of any military organization when on parade or when going to or from any place of assembly, (C) any person while transporting such knife as merchandise or for display at an authorized gun or knife show, (D) any person who is found with any such knife concealed upon one’s person while lawfully removing such person’s household goods or effects from one place to another, or from one residence to another, (E) any person while actually and peaceably engaged in carrying any such knife from such person’s place of abode or business to a place or person where or by whom such knife is to be repaired, or while actually and peaceably returning to such person’s place of abode or business with such knife after the same has been repaired, (F) any person holding a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license issued pursuant to chapter 490 or any salt water fisherman carrying such knife for lawful hunting, fishing or trapping activities, or (G) any person while participating in an authorized historic reenactment; (4) the carrying by any person enrolled in or currently attending, or an instructor at, a martial arts school of a martial arts weapon while in a class or at an authorized event or competition or while transporting such weapon to or from such class, event or competition; (5) the carrying of a BB. gun by any person taking part in a supervised event or competition of the Boy Scouts of America or the Girl Scouts of America or in any other authorized event or competition while taking part in such event or competition or while transporting such weapon to or from such event or competition; and (6) the carrying of a BB. gun by any person upon such person’s own property or the property of another person provided such other person has authorized the carrying of such weapon on such property, and the transporting of such weapon to or from such property.