Connecticut gun owners rush to register weapons - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Connecticut gun owners rush to register weapons

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MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) -

Hundreds of Connecticut residents lined up Monday to make sure their weapons will be legal in the new year.

The state's new gun laws are supposed to protect the families of Connecticut, but some said the laws are only causing problems for law abiding citizens.

People started lining up at the State Department of Public Safety in Middletown early Monday morning. The line wrapped around the building and people were registering up until the building closed at 4:30 p.m.

The controversial, wide-ranging gun control law was passed in Connecticut in April after the mass shooting inside Sandy Hook Elementary where 20 children and six adults lost their lives.

Now anything the state considers to be an assault weapon or magazine holding more than 10 rounds needs to be registered by Wednesday or it will be illegal in the new year.

If an assault weapon bought before April is not registered by Tuesday, owners will have to sell it to a gun dealer, render it permanently inoperable, or turn it in to law enforcement.

"If you get caught with a banned assault weapon after tomorrow night then you're going to be prosecuted as a felon," said Mike Lawlor, who is the governor's undersecretary for criminal justice.

Lawlor said gun owners have had since the summer to get this paperwork in. As of Christmas, more than 20,000 assault weapons had been registered with the state.

"The goal of the law is to have fewer of these assault weapons in circulation in the years to come," Lawlor said. "All of this is about having fewer people killed with guns."

The registration paperwork either has to be sent by certified mail or delivered in person, and since it's so close to the Dec. 31 deadline many are standing in line to make sure it gets in.

Gun owners have to include a receipt or a sworn affidavit proving their assault weapon or high capacity magazine was bought before the law passed in April.

Many people in line said they don't want to be there, but they need to do what has to be done before the deadline.

"Just wait until tomorrow," Windsor resident Dan Miller said. "It's going to be worse, I'm sure."

Miller said had he remembered the deadline for registering certain weapons and ammunition was Tuesday, he would have been in Middletown weeks ago. Now he's in line with hundreds of others.

"You have to," he said. "That's all there is to it. It's better than the alternative."

Many people Channel 3 Eyewitness News spoke with said they don't see the regulations doing much good.

"Anybody who's going to bring their assault rifles here to register them aren't criminals," Sterling resident Kevin Bryson said. "The criminals are the people sitting at home hiding them in their closet right now."

State police said they're doing their best to keep the line moving, going over paperwork to make sure everything is in order once they're inside the building.

They said they've been trying to help and make it as user friendly as possible, but said people have had plenty of time to get the registration complete before Tuesday's deadline.

Staff at Delta Arsenal in Wallingford were trying to help their customers stay in compliance.

"We have a notary on staff who's been helping out, notarizing everything, making sure the affidavit's are correct, people's receipts are correct and their paperwork's all in order," said Doug Odishoo of Delta Arsenal.

Odishoo said some of his customers weren't taking any chances.

"They're being very cautious," Odishoo said. "We do have a lot of people coming in turning in a lot of guns, turning in magazines. They just don't want to deal with it."

The Connecticut State Police Headquarters in Middletown opens again at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Officials said they were planning to close around 3 p.m. Residents have until midnight to get the paperwork sent by registered mail.

For more information on the law and to get forms needed to register, click here.

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