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Implementing New Gun Laws, Waiting For New Paperwork

Governor Dannel Malloy signed new laws that say people who own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines will have to register them with the state by January 1. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the state says creating the registration process is going to take some time.

Over the weekend, gun-rights advocate Bob Crook sent an email to the roughly 2,000 addresses that get updates from his Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen. He said that email included a link to the new state form you have to fill out if you already own an assault weapon and you want to register it with the state. Just a couple of days later, I asked Crook to direct me to that form.

"Let me get to the website here. DPS. Home. State police...I can't find the form." That's not his fault. The form had just been removed from the state police website. A spokesman said it was up briefly but that it has to be modified. Crook says he's afraid this could speak to the registration process going forward. "This is going to be a horrendous operation as far as the state police go, I can tell you that right now...I have no idea how they're going to register close to a million magazines and I don't know how many so-called assault weapons there are in the state. They're going to turn it into the Department of Motor Vehicles."

Relax, says Mike Lawlor. He's the governor's Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning. He says the governor gave a deadline of later this summer to have all of the procedures ironed out. And, by then, they will be. "The governor made it very clear that he wants, by August 1, that all of the new procedures and forms and certificates and applications that are required under the new law will be available. And that will leave at least four months for people to register their assault weapons or register their high capacity magazines."

So if you're a gun owner who owned assault weapons before the governor signed the new bill into law, you will have to register with the state. Just keep checking the state police website for the paperwork.

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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