STAMFORD — After a historic ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, gun advocates in Connecticut can rest assured that their Second Amendment rights are safe.
On June 26, the court ruled 5-4 that a Washington, D.C. handgun ban was unconstitutional and for the first time recognized that the Second Amendment affords individuals the right to own a gun for self-defense and hunting purposes.
“Thank God,” said Gary Mammana, former owner of Stamford Archery and Firearms. “I know first hand how state implemented gun laws hurt legal gun owners, not the criminals.”
On April 13, 2007 Mammana was escorted from his shop at 379 Shippan Ave. by two state police officers for selling what state officials told him were legal guns. The charges against Mammana were later dropped and expunged from the records after he agreed to an accelerated rehabilitation, he said. However, his business never recovered. He was soon forced to shut down.
“I opened up my gun shop against the advice of a lot of people. Selling guns isn’t a lucrative business because of the country’s feelings toward guns,” he said.
Although state and city legislators say the supreme court’s ruling won’t effect Connecticut’s current gun laws, Mammana hopes it will.
“I’ll bet somebody brings suit against the state of Connecticut as a result [of the court’s ruling],” he said.
“As far as the supreme courts decision, we don’t expect any impact for Connecticut,” said Ron Pinciaro, a spokesman for Connecticut Against Gun Violence. Where issues could arise are in cities and states with stricter gun laws like San Francisco, New York and Chicago, he said.
State Rep. William Tong, D-147, said that Connecticut’s gun laws are in line with most other jurisdiction’s and that the court’s decision should have little baring on Connecticut.
“What this [ruling] means is that Connecticut can continue to do what it needs to do to prevent unnecessary gun violence,” he said.
Tong and Jody Kriss have advocated for stricter gun laws in Connecticut. His Lost and Stolen Firearms bill, which requires gun owners to report a lost or stolen firearm within 72 hours since it went missing, recently passed and became law.
The Second Amendment states “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”
While Mammana agrees with the more obvious state implemented restrictions placed on legal gun owners, he believes upholding the U.S. constitution should be first priority.