HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–More than 21,000 guns purchased legally over the last several months are waiting to be entered into the state registration database, according to testimony by high-ranking public safety officials at a legislative hearing held last week.
The revelation of the backlog came during questioning by State Rep. Brian Ohler (R-64th District) to Department of Public Safety Commissioner Dora Schriro and other members of her office.
“So, if I’m a law enforcement officer responding to the scene or I pull somebody over, that system is not updated,” Ohler asked to Schriro and the Commanding Officer of State Police Administrative Services Lt. Col. George Battle. “So, if I bought a firearm in the last month it’s not reported in the system for the safety of the officer?”
Battle blamed budget cuts and staff shortages on the backlog that he estimates goes back several months.
“The current back log at this time is due to staffing shortages of office assistants and processing technicians,” said Battle. “We try to not to tie up full duty troopers but often times will put light duty personnel into those units to supplement the civilian staff.
At the time of the hearing, the total number of backlogged firearms was around 18,000. Ohler says that number jumped to 21,500 after an agency audit over the weekend.
“In the post-Sandy Hook world, when we had public act 1403, the most comprehensive gun laws in the nation passed,” said Ohler. “Law abiding gun owners continue day after day to follow the law but it’s the state that is letting them down now.”
Scott Wilson, president of the pro-gun rights group Connecticut Citizens Defense League believes the state needs to look into the issue before someone is pulled over with a gun that is not entered in the system.
“Sure, the police will run their permit. Sure they’ll see they are a lawful gun owner by state standards but when the number of the gun doesn’t come up in the database there is going to be the likelihood of a detained traffic stop by an individual who is following the laws,” said Wilson.
Wilson says the state needs to keep up with existing laws before passing any new gun reforms.