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"People don't really need to own guns"?

An Open Letter to the New Britain CT Police Chief

By David Codrea

30 June 2002

William J. Sencio
Chief of Police
New Britain Police Department
125 Columbus Boulevard
New Britain , CT 06051
Phone: (860) 826-3067
Fax:(860) 826-3102

In re: "Free gun lock giveaway arrives in city" --New Britain

Herald, 29 June 2002

Dear Chief Sencio,

Your participation in Lt. Governor M. Jodi Rell's politically opportunistic gun lock "giveaway" brings to mind the comments of ex-Gotti hit man Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, who observed, "You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins."

Sure, safeguarding weapons (or any other potentially dangerous household items) from unauthorized access is something all responsible people should do. But to promote a one-size-fits-all approach as a panacea can result in defense tools being inaccessible by authorized users -- at the time when they are needed the most. So I trust you responsibly cautioned lock recipients that in situations where they need to defend themselves, even a delay of a second or two can mean the difference between life and death? And that this will give their attacker(s) a critical advantage?

I am also troubled by comments attributed to you in the referenced story.

"Chief William Sencio said the police force was fortunate not to have to respond to these accidental shootings and said people didn't really need to own guns. 'People have to reminded [sic] that when you own a weapon that there's a responsibilitiy [sic] that goes with it. If someone feels there's an intruder in their house, they should turn the lights on because nine times out of 10 intruders will leave,' Sencio said."

"Nine times out of 10"? What if it's in the daytime? What if the attacker invades their house INTENDING to victimize the resident, like a stalker ignoring a restraining order?

Do you have a statistical rationale for making this claim -- something that has been peer reviewed and validated? Or is it just an unsubstantiated utterance that people are supposed to believe because you are an "authority" and therefore "know best"? Besides, assuming that your numbers are right (which has not been demonstrated), what have you just advised unarmed homeowners to do in that one situation out of 10?

Defense experts, people qualified to train your officers, even caution against racking a shotgun slide in home invasions--lest you give the intruder (or intruders -- one just doesn't know at this point!) knowledge of your presence, situational awareness, defense capabilities and whereabouts that they can exploit. Do you train your officers to make such information known in fluid tactical combat situations against undetermined assailants with unknown offensive capabilities? Do you tell them to announce their presence and location, and turn on the lights?

Remember the Manson Family murders, Chief? Sharon Tate and her guests already had the lights on. Should they have turned on more?

Or how about the eight student nurses killed by Richard Speck? Would another lamp or two have made a difference?

Oh hell, Chief, let's get closer to home. How about New Britain's very own quadruple murderer, Marco Camacho, who took out two men and two women at a Southington home six years ago?  Are you saying they would have been okay if they had simply turned on a light?

Do you think there's a chance that the advice you have so casually propagated might end up getting someone killed?

Tell me something, Chief -- is your department legally accountable for failing to protect individual New Britain citizens? Even if they dial 911?

Don't bother answering -- in his book "Dial 911 and Die," attorney Richard Stevens has already researched this question for all 50 states, and tells us that in Connecticut, "an injured citizen cannot sue the police or the city government for their failure to protect the citizen from criminal attack."

As far as people having no "need to own guns," I guess we have no need to own Bibles, books, or even copies of the New Britain Herald, either. But we have a right, this right is inalienable, and it will not be surrendered to some government bureaucrat who (totally inappropriately!) questions it based on a subjective assessment of "need." And it seems the Founding Fathers -- the ones who wrote that pesky Constitution guys like you swore to uphold and defend, disagreed with you:

"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms." ---Thomas Jefferson

"[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...[where] the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." ---James Madison

"[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them;" ---Richard Henry Lee

"Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."  ---Tenche Coxe

I'd say these clear and reasoned arguments trump your historically and morally indefensible opinion. It seems the Founders intended that it would be the people, and not solely agents of the state, like you, who would wield the "terrible implement of the soldier." It seems they felt this was NEEDED so that we could not only protect ourselves from common thugs, but from potentially tyrannical ones as well.

Besides, common sense, as documented in countless news accounts, tells us that you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Operation Self Defense was established on the website to demonstrate "the truth about how many people use guns to legally defend life, liberty and property." Check out their "Latest Stories", listed on the right side of the web page, and then access their archives. Then be sure to follow up by reading "The Best Defense" and "Guns Save Lives" by author Robert A. Waters.

If, after doing this, you still want to maintain that people "don't really need to own guns", and that turning on lights will reliably and consistently deter the evil predators among us, I invite you to demonstrate the courage of your convictions by immediately disarming yourself and the entire New Britain police force-- and issuing flashlights instead.


David Codrea
Redondo Beach, CA

David Codrea is a co-founder and director for the national pro-rights media campaign, Citizens of America (, and an advisor and contributor for His professional writing is featured often in Guns and Ammo magazine. Additionally, he is the national coordinator for A Petition for the Enforcement of the Second Amendment ( His archives can be accessed here:


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The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.' A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power." [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]

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