The task force was formed in 2000 in response to surging gun violence. Three years later, its funding was chopped as state officials struggled to deal with an earlier fiscal fiasco. In 2007, another wave of urban shootings convinced lawmakers to restore the money. And now it's gone again, even though the gunfire continues to echo through Connecticut's cities. But state Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III doesn't think the loss of the task force is anything to fret about.
"It was a tool for a problem that doesn't exist in that way anymore," Danaher said in a recent interview. "You just don't have organized firearms trafficking going on."
Danaher's statements came as a shock to West Hartford Police Chief James J. Strillacci, a former president of the Connecticut Chiefs of Police Association.
"I don't know where he's getting his information," Strillacci said. "We know criminals are regularly getting guns. They're getting them somehow. ... Whether it's organized or disorganized, it's very effective."
Who do you think makes more sense, Danaher or Strillacci?
Here are some interesting statistics from the Task Force's earlier efforts.
According to the ATF, there were 1,563 guns seized and traced in Connecticut last year. Of the 779 where a state of origin could be identified, 478 came from this state. Florida led the list of outside states of origin with 34, followed by Virginia with 31 and Pennsylvania with 23.
Doesn't that sound like those reports which proved that OF THE MEXICAN GUNS TRACED, 90% came from the U.S.? In this case though, it sounds like a legitimate statistic proving that most of the guns used in crime in Connecticut come from Connecticut.
What do you make of that? Since they start out as legal property of some licensed gun dealer somewhere in the state, and presumably pass from him to another legal owner who passed the background check, how do they get into the criminal world? I'll tell you how. At some point, some legal honest upstanding citizen who owns the gun sells or gives it to a criminal. Of course that makes him a criminal, but like so many, he hasn't been caught yet and is masquerading as a good guy.
What's to be done? Obviously, background checks on every transfer.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.