If there’s one state that knows all too well the pain, the grief and the shock that gun violence can bring, it’s the state of Connecticut.
That’s why we passed the nation’s strongest common-sense gun safety laws – banning the sale of high-capacity gun magazines and requiring background checks for private gun sales – in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Just this week, Republicans ducked answering where they stand on the next battle against criminals who want to do harm – the 3D printing of guns. When asked “Should Connecticut ban 3D-printable, untraceable guns?” each of the Republican gubernatorial candidates refused to support common-sense regulations on 3D-printed guns.
With technology rapidly advancing, we must update our laws to keep pace, especially when it comes to 3D-printed weapons. These untraceable “ghost guns” create a new threat that demands immediate legislative attention and action.
3D-printed ghost guns are do-it-yourself firearms that can be manufactured at home – and can’t be tracked or detected. They are a real threat, one that our current laws offer little to no protection against.
A recent legal settlement between the Trump Administration and Texas-based Defense Distributed would allow blueprints for 3D-printed guns to be publicly sold. That means individuals without gun permits can manufacture guns made of plastic, that have no serial numbers and are undetectable in existing security screening. Already, there have been more than 1,500 downloads of 3D-blueprints that would allow the assembly of AR-15 assault rifles.
This poses a very real threat to the safety and well-being of people across Connecticut.
We have seen too many families lose their fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters to senseless gun violence. Increased access to untraceable firearms would mean more, not fewer, tragedies. It is imperative that Connecticut’s leaders stand up – right now – and again lead the nation in the fight against gun violence by updating our laws to reflect the new reality in which we now live.
I’m proud of George Jepsen, our attorney general, who went to court and got a federal judge to temporarily order dangerous blueprints be taken down off the internet. But we need a permanent solution – fast.
Most people think this is common sense. But the Republicans running for governor are not most people. All of them have refused to speak up and refused to speak out.
We differ on this issue.
Where is the outrage and concern from the Republican candidates who seek to make our state a safer place to live and raise a family? Will plastic guns not shoot the same bullets in their administrations?
Earlier this year, the Connecticut General Assembly failed to pass legislation that would have banned ghost guns. If elected, I’ll put forward a strengthened version of that bill that will ban all ghost guns, including 3D-printed guns and other undetectable, untraceable firearms. This legislation would also require the receiver for assault-style weapons, such as AR-15s, to be made of metal, which would prevent someone from 3D printing the critical pieces needed to construct a fully-functional assault-style weapon.
Judging from their silence, and the A-grade they have all given President Trump, the Republican candidates for governor wouldn’t introduce similar legislation.
And although those measures alone are not enough to end the national epidemic of gun violence, they are steps that will save lives. And we can go further. It begins with considering every option to ensure undetectable guns are never in our streets, never in our homes, and never in our schools and communities.
Connecticut needs a leader who will stand up to do what’s right. Our safety depends on it.
Ned Lamont is a Democratic candidate for governor.