(CT Post) Sen. Kane: “Why would we be protecting felons who have committed crimes with guns?”

May 15, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Connecticut Post
Proposal to make registry public defeated

Ken Dixon
Updated 10:28 pm, Tuesday, May 14, 2013

HARTFORD — An attempt by minority Republicans in the Senate to open the state’s planned registry of deadly weapons offenders for public scrutiny failed Tuesday along party lines.

The issue was brought up as an amendment by state Sen. Rob Kane, R-Watertown, who said that the registry, created under the state’s recent historic gun-reform legislation, should be a tool for the general public in addition to the law enforcement authorities for whom it has been intended.

Democrats rejected the proposal, stressing that when the registry is fully set up, a determination can be made on whether the names and addresses of weapons offenders should be made public.

Kane, whose district includes Seymour and Oxford, said that the information is important.

“Why would we be protecting felons who have committed crimes with guns?” Kane said. “What we should be doing is protecting the general public the same way we do with sex offenders. It’s very important for our families, our neighbors, our community and the people we represent in our districts throughout the state of Connecticut know who is in their neighborhood and who amongst us has committed these crimes, just like the way we commit those on the sex-offender registry.”

Kane offered the amendment on a bill that would require certain sex offenders under the purview of the Psychiatric Security Review Board to provide their names, addresses and other information for the State Police’s sex offender registry, which is public information.

The gun offender registry was enacted in the sweeping legislation in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary Schools as a tool for law enforcement authorities to keep tabs on felons convicted on weapons-related charges.

House Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, a leading gun-control proponent, said that publicizing the names of weapons offenders could result in revenge shootings.

“I believe we will have plenty of opportunity to discuss whether we should expand the registry beyond its original use,” Looney said.

State Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Bloomfield, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that Kane’s proposal was not the subject of a public hearing and was presented in a manner that wasn’t emblematic of the bipartisan agreement that was one of the highlights of the recent gun-control bill.

“We arrived at certain decisions and we arrived at those decisions by consensus,” Coleman said. “One of the decisions that we arrived at was not to make this violence registry public, or at least not to do so at this time.”
The amendment failed along party lines, 22-14. The underlying legislation was then approved unanimously and next heads to the House.