The state of Connecticut faces a crucial decision. The state passed a law last year requiring the registration of so-called "assault weapons" - semi-automatic rifles with certain cosmetic features. The deadline for registration was December 31, 2013, and the response to the law by Connecticut's law-abiding gun owners was extremely underwhelming.
The state government does not know exactly how many of these rifles are in their state, but only just over 50,000 were registered by the December deadline. There are estimates that as many as 300,000 citizens of Connecticut defied the law, meaning that 300,000 people went from being perfectly law-abiding citizens to class-D felons overnight.
There has been no shortage of speculation as to how the state of Connecticut will end up responding to this phenomenon. The most common theories revolve around the state government performing door-to-door confiscation raids on suspected gun owners. There have already been reports of the state government asking citizens to report on their neighbors if they suspect them of owning one of these "assault rifles."
Confiscation, of course, would be problematic for the state. Proponents of the Second Amendment are already wary of the overuse of registration laws, which have historically been used to aid later confiscation efforts. If the state begins knocking down doors to confiscate firearms, armed resistance is practically inevitable...and with gun owners across America keeping a close eye on the situation in Connecticut, it would behoove the state government to carefully consider their actions as they move forward.
There are other questions, however, over just how effective Connecticut's new law will be in curtailing any gun violence. The so-called "assault weapons" targeted by the law are used very seldom in the commission of crimes. In the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, to which the law is a response, Adam Lanza murdered his own mother in order to steal her rifle...so the question must be asked: if there was nothing under Connecticut law preventing Adam Lanza's mother from legally owning her firearms, how would registration have prevented anything that took place that day? Registered firearms can be stolen by criminals and the criminally insane just as easily as firearms that are not registered.
And, as it always seems to be in our modern age, there are larger issues at stake here than just the situation in Connecticut. American freedoms are being reduced practically on a daily basis. Blatant violations of the Bill of Rights by federal and state governments are shrugged off as unimportant by America's ruling elite - and the few lawmakers in Washington who still seem to care for Rule of Law are written off as extremists - as though a belief in our Constitution and founding principles is now relegated to the Tinfoil Hat Brigade. The Federal government asserts more and more power over the states and the citizenry, even as state governments assert more and more control over their citizens.
The Arab Spring turned out not to be such a "spring" after all, but rather an autumn that continues to devolve into a theocratic winter at the hands of Islamic hard-liners. But there is a new spring arising, as the people of Ukraine were able to successfully rise up and overthrow their dictator - Ukraine has its own set of strict restrictions on gun ownership, yet the people of that nation were able to rise up, using rocks, sticks, bottles and Molotov cocktails to overcome heavily armed police forces. The people of Venezuela have risen up against an oppressive and corrupt government, as they seek freedom from the legacy of their previous dictator, Hugo Chavez.
Unfortunately, the situation in Ukraine has given Vladimir Putin the opening he was looking for to move Russian troops into that nation. Time will tell how things will turn out, but we could be facing a new Soviet Empire, even as our own nation just announced massive cuts to our military.
People across the globe have been rising up against oppressive regimes. Time after time, America's president has voiced support for these movements, even while the grip of government control tightens over us here in the U.S. Our governments become more and more dictatorial; our police forces become more and more militarized. As time goes on, it becomes less a question of whether
we will reach a tipping point, and more a question of where
the next American Revolution will begin. Will it be Connecticut? Perhaps we will avoid it this time, but who will be next? California? New York?
As governments assert more and more control, they leave fewer and fewer options for those people who desire to live free. When our governments pass laws that violate our basic rights, it is the duty of the people to stand firm and refuse to comply. If the State chooses to force the issue, I fear what may result, but I hold out hope that while great sacrifices may be required, that great Spirit of American Freedom that has led us through the generations since our founding will prevail.