Sen. Guglielmo: Fully Fund and Staff State-wide Firearms Trafficking Task Force “Let’s get illegal guns off the street.”

March 20, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Senator Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford) is supporting a bill to fund and staff the statewide firearms trafficking task force. SB 307; AN ACT PROVIDING FUNDING FOR THE STATE-WIDE FIREARMS TRAFFICKING TASK FORCE would appropriate the sum of one million dollars to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, from the General Fund.

“We know this task force gets illegal guns off the streets. Instead of cutting back on a very important program that we know works, let’s fund it and staff it, said Sen. Guglielmo.

The task force seizes guns that are on the street illegally and inspects weapons from gun buy-back programs. According to the Office of Fiscal Analysis, in 2008 the taskforce was staffed with 1 Lieutenant, 2 Sergeants, 6 Detectives, 1 Local Officer, and 1 Office Assistant.

The Task Force did have its own line item in the Budget as recently as FY 2009 when $400,000 was dedicated for that purpose. These funds were allocated for equipment to support task force operations including: vans, vests, guns.

Since then members have retired or have been re-assigned. The Task Force has also not received a specific allocation of funds since that time. However, it has continued to function in accordance with the statutory mandate (CGS 29-38e) and has been funded through Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s (DESPP) personal service and other expense accounts.

“All I’m hoping for is to get our focus back on this idea of a gun trafficking taskforce because it works, said Sen. Guglielmo. “When you have a gun buy-back you get something old out of someone’s closet that may not even work. These are illegal firearms in the hands of criminals – these are people that you don’t want guns in the hands of.”

As a member of the Gun Control Working Group – one of the sub committees of the leader’s task force on gun violence prevention and children’s safety – Sen. Guglielmo joined republican members in recommending the reconstitution of the gun trafficking task force and funding it $1 million. According to the Office of Fiscal Analysis:

  • In FY 10, the task force spent $486,946.25 and was staffed by a State Police Lieutenant and a local officer. The local officer was reassigned after a promotion during the year.
  • In FY 11, the task force spent $381,438.49 and was staffed by 2 State Police Detectives.
  • In FY 12, the task force spent $248,715.87 and was staffed by 1 State Police Detective.

“In 2012 that one detective made 14 arrests, carried out 30 investigations, made 21 seizures and conducted a gun show inspection,” said Sen. Gugliemo. “This task force should be appropriately funded, not left to fend for pennies that fall out after shaking the piggy bank of DESPP. We are not going to stop everything. This is a free society. Like Ben Franklin said there’s always going to be a conflict between liberty and security. We need to strike a balance. Otherwise we will lose both.”

Senator Guglielmo will be testifying before the Appropriations Committee on Friday, March 22 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, 300 Capitol Ave. The public hearing is scheduled for 10:00 am in room 2C.