World and Nation

Connecticut legislators agree on sweeping gun control laws

HARTFORD, Conn. — More than three months after the massacre of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., legislative leaders announced on Monday that they had agreed on what they called the most far-reaching gun-legislation package in the country.

It would require new state-issued eligibility certificates for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition; mandate that offenders convicted of more than 40 weapons offenses register with the state; require universal background checks for the sale of all firearms; and substantially expand the state’s existing ban on assault weapons.

But the package did not include everything that anti-gun forces had asked for. It includes a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines with more than 10 bullets. But despite a dramatic plea on Monday from relatives of 11 of the victims killed at Sandy Hook on Dec. 14, legislative leaders did not include a complete ban on their ownership, although they agreed on new rules requiring their registration. Legislation passed by New York in January included a ban on the ownership of high-capacity magazines.

But the legislation in Connecticut, agreed to after several weeks of negotiations between Democratic and Republican leaders in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, was hailed by gun-control proponents as a landmark package and an appropriate response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said he was disappointed that the ban on possession of high-capacity magazines was not approved and that the bill would have little effect on handgun violence. But, he said, “When you take all the elements and compare it, I think you could judiciously say this is the strongest bill in the nation.”

The bill is expected to go to both houses of the General Assembly on Wednesday; passage seemed assured.

In a state still shaken by the tragedy and with a moderate social and political culture, Democratic and Republican leaders hailed the agreement.

“I wake up in morning and put this green ribbon and pin on my jacket lapel to remember those we’ve lost,” said John McKinney, a Republican who represents Newtown and is the Senate minority leader. “And what I’m proud of is that all of us, Republicans and Democrats, understood that some issues, and this one particularly, should rise above politics.”

And leaders of both parties said the bipartisan process, which was more protracted than originally expected, had been difficult but should be a model for other states and for Washington.

SAM almost 11 years ago

This legislation will do NOTHING to reduce or prevent any further gun crimes in this state. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said "Those that give up freedom for security, have neither", and it is true. Shame on the Connecticut Republicans for allowing this to pass.

Grandpa Rick almost 11 years ago

I am a father and a grandfather; I have a sister and a brother, my family is of the upmost importance to me. I am sincerely sick at heart at what happened at Sandy Hook School. This tragedy is unfathomable. I am almost as repulsed, by the way some of Connecticut politicians are exploiting this tragedy to serve their own agenda. It is quite transparent that those who have been elected into office feel that they do not have to listen to ALL of their constituents concerns. We who legitimately own guns for legitimate reasons want to help heal our state but that healing process SHOULD NOT INCLUDE CAUSING US TO BECOME COLLATERAL VICTIMS in this atrocity.I am in no way dismissing the pain of the families of these innocent victims; but punishing thousands more innocent families by subjecting them to the possibility of becoming a felon by inflicting these non-functional gun laws upon law abiding citizens is counterproductive. Lets take the stigma off mental illness and treat it as any other form of major illness. Lets be a state that leads the nation in caring for and establishing care for those who suffer from mental illnesses. Lets do something positive!!