MASON CITY, IA — In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado and Sandy Hook shootings, states like New York and Colorado have already tightened their gun laws.
Now, Connecticut is the latest state to do so and some groups are saying they are the strongest and most comprehensive gun laws in the nation.
Sheriff Kevin Pals and his staff at the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office deal with many different situations each day, some involving guns.
So they have been following the gun restriction talks, including the recent legislation in Connecticut.
“The downside of that is, these restrictions are restricting law-abiding citizens the right to have firearms, which is the only way government can do it,” Pals said.
One of the ways the Connecticut government is trying to help is by creating the nation’s first statewide registry or people convicted of crimes involving the use or threat of dangerous weapons.
“The unfortunate part is that most people that are arrested for those crimes aren’t convicted of those, a lot of those are plead out through a plea agreement and they’re convicted of like a misdemeanor assault,” Pals said.
He said the bans on the assault rifles may not be the perfect solution, but at this point he does not know what is.
“Rifles, assault rifles, you can call them whatever you want, but a lot of people hunt with those rifles, they’re not out killing people,” Pals said, “We’re caught in a conundrum here that there’s no good answer.”
One answer lawmakers believe may work is expanded background check to buy guns; something Kemlin Hart of Hart Brothers Weaponry in Mason City approves of, but added, it is already federal law to do so.
“It’s a lot like when Clinton got the Brady Bill pushed through,” Hart said, “The Brady Bill’s from 1968, it was just a revamped version of it so-to-speak, so they added some more regulation to it, called it the Brady Bill, got this whole, oh it’s the latest, greatest, we’re going to push it through and they got it done.”
Another Connecticut law is limiting magazines like this to ten rounds, but it may not make a difference.
“Those ten round guys shoot just as fast as the guys who aren’t restricted,” Hart said, “Long story short, those ten round mags aren’t going to slow a criminal down if he’s proficient with the tool.”
Hart also said that limiting magazines to ten rounds does not seem to bother anyone, including himself.
His concern is just chipping away at a major gun restriction instead of doing it all at once.