A Connecticut measure that would create the nation’s first statewide registry for gun offenders went before lawmakers yesterday at a public hearing on a package of gun bills, the Hartford Courant reports. The gun-offender database, modeled after the sex-offender registry, would give police a potent new tool to combat violence, said Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, who proposed the idea.
Several cities, including New York City, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., have established such requirements for gun offenders, but no state has done so, Looney said. Just as those convicted of sex offenses must check in with local authorities, gun offenders would be required to register with local police. Unlike the sex-offender registry, the information on gun offenders would be accessible only to law enforcement officials. The requirement would apply to people who committed serious gun violations such as those who used a firearm to commit a crime, Looney said. “No law-abiding citizen or sportsman would have anything to fear from this bill,” he said. Several lawmakers questioned why the registry was needed. They pointed out that a national crime database already contains information about gun offenders. But Looney and other supporters said the registry, unlike the national database, would give law enforcement the ability to pinpoint where the offenders live.