The Disabled Need AR-15s, Lawsuit Says

If you doubt the law’s capacity to transform almost anything into a farce, look no further than the case of Disabled Americans for Firearms Rights, LLC, et al., v. Dannel P. Malloy. It alleges that Connecticut’s new ban on assault weapons discriminates against the disabled, and therefore violates the state’s constitution and state laws.

The lawyer filing the suit even wrote a press release to accompany the suit. “I am proud to represent ... Disabled Americans for Firearms Rights in this important case,” Scott Camassar of North Stonington writes. “The new law unconstitutionally discriminates against the physically disabled and we intend to hold the State to the clear requirements of Connecticut constitutional and statutory law.”

The suit is brilliant dark theater. Do the politically correct want tough gun control laws? We’ll show them -- what are you going to say when the disabled claim discrimination because they are now deprived of access to weapons? I mean, Bambi loves the disabled, right?

The law suit is patently frivolous. If this is what we can expect from the National Rifle Association and its groupies, I hope the Attorney General’s Office will not be bashful in seeking sanctions for the filing of frivolous claims.

While the state constitution guarantees citizen’s a right to bear arms, it does not, contrary to the assertions in this suit, have a provision prohibiting discrimination based on disabilities. Article First, Section 20 bars discrimination on account of “religion, race, color, ancestry or national origin.” The complaint fails on its constitutional claim.

What of its statutory claim?

State law prohibits depriving a disabled person of rights guaranteed by law. Hence, a disabled person who believes the new ban on assault weapons abridges his or her rights can seek to sue under this statute. But what of the merits of this claim?

The writ claims that the disabled have special needs for specially designed guns, guns built on the now-banned AR-15 frame. Why they might also need special pistol grips, forward grips or telescopic sights of the very type now banned by law. The governor’s new gun control legislation makes it impossible for the disabled to get the guns they need. “The governor needs to accommodate the disabled,” the suit maintains.

Attorney Camassar’s biography on his firm website makes him look like a pretty impressive guy. He logged time at the Reardon law firm and at Gordon Muir Foley, where he handled wrongful death cases and sophisticated civil litigation. Apparently, he’s a rookie in civil rights cases. Disabled Americans for Firearms Rights, LLC, is nearly a year old; it has a web presence, a Facebook page and an active media presence.

But I can’t help suspecting this litigation is really just political theater. I’d be willing to bet that the litigation is funded by the gun lobby. 

Guns are weapons designed to kill. Yes, they have sporting uses, but the right to arm yourself with the fire power of a SWAT team is not enshrined in either the federal or state constitutions. And recognizing the obvious, that there are some limits on what some folks with disabilities can do, is not a violation of fundamental fairness: It is simple common sense.

The new suit claims that the assault weapon ban prevents the disabled, from, among other things, serving in the state’s militia. Frankly, I don’t know what the state’s militia does. I doubt it serves more than a ceremonial purpose. But if it has a function involving public safety, I’m not sure I want a wheelchair division patrolling my streets.

Guns are a public health problem. If you doubt it, consider this suit: Like a junkie afraid that the next fix will be hard to find, the gunsters are grasping at straws to retain the right to arm themselves for Armageddon. I hope the courts have the sense to make short work of this silly lawsuit. 


Comments (1)
Posted on April 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm by Corrie
You're my hero, Mr. Pattis, except when it comes to individual voir dire, where we'll have to agree to disagree.
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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


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