Gun store owners are taking advantage of a supposed loophole in Connecticut’s firearms legislation by selling pre-1994 manufactured “assault weapons.”
Last week, Fox Connecticut uncovered an exemption in the gun bill which allows citizens to buy, sell, or transfer any semi-automatic rifles made prior to 1994. Those firearms were put back on the market after President Clinton’s assault weapons ban expired in 2004.
“If you can prove that they were manufactured before 1994 they are not affected by this law,” Undersecretary for Criminal Justice in the Office of Policy and Management Mike Lawlor said.
Firearms dealers have begun using the exemption, by purchasing what are called “pre-bans” from out of state and selling them off Connecticut shelves. Tactical Arms in Torrington has sold 11 pre-bans already. A shipment of 26 or more are due next week. Two other gun stores told Fox Connecticut that they have only one pre-ban left to sell.
There is also a thriving demand for the guns on the internet where potential sellers can advertise the firearms to interested buyers in Connecticut. One person wrote on the forum 24hourcampfire.com , “This may be your LAST CHANCE to get a PRE-BAN rifle” and “They are selling around here for $4,000 to $4,800”.
It is unclear how many pre-bans are in the U.S. right now. According to a 1996 Institute of Justice Survey, 76 million rifles were possessed by U.S. civilians just two years into the Clinton ban.