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Connecticut criminal defense attorney for deadly weapons chargesThe deadly shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in 2012 shook the country and especially the state of Connecticut. Shortly after the tragedy, the state’s lawmakers enacted several new laws pertaining to firearms, one of which created what is known as the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry. This is a non-public registry, and those who have been convicted of criminal charges involving a deadly weapon are required to submit their personal information to the registry and maintain this registration for five years after their release from prison. While the registry functions similar to the sex offender registry, some are arguing that the registry should not be made public or should not exist at all.

Who Is Required to Register?

The current law states that any person who is convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect for a crime involving a deadly weapon is required to register within 14 days of being released back into the community. Connecticut law defines a deadly weapon as “any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, bill, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.” There are 42 offenses for which convicted offenders must submit their information to the registry, including:

  • Carrying a handgun without a permit
  • Committing murder, assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, or burglary with a firearm
  • Committing a felony crime that involves threatening the use of a firearm
  • Criminal possession of a handgun
  • Theft of a firearm
  • Selling or transferring a handgun to an ineligible person
  • Possession of a sawed-off shotgun or silencer

Should the List Be Made Public?

Many people, including lawmakers, have questioned the effectiveness of the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry. Some say that the list should be made public, just like the sex offender registry, which can be accessed online. Others say that the weapons offender registry is used for police purposes only and would not serve any use to the public, except for vigilantes who might take matters into their own hands. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has opposed making the list public, since releasing this information would create significant privacy concerns for those on the list.

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