Gov. Lamont again pushing for total assault weapons ban
Gov. Ned Lamont is marking the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting with a new push for stricter gun laws, including a total ban on AR-15 rifle ownership. But Lamont faces hurdles – in both the legislature and the courts.
After the shooting, Connecticut banned most AR-15 rifles and extended magazines, but guns made before 1993 were “grandfathered” in.
"There are some loopholes when it comes to assault weapons,” Lamont said Tuesday.
Lamont plans to re-introduce much of a sweeping gun control package he proposed earlier this year. In addition to expanding the AR-15 ban, Lamont’s bill also required trigger locks on all firearms and created a new state license for gun dealers.
State lawmakers abandoned the governor’s plan amid strong backlash, but he wants to try again next year.
"Those high capacity assault-style weapons probably have no place, in my mind, in public spaces,” said Lamont. "How we can limit access there, especially in big public areas. That seems to be a place where maybe we can get some common ground."
Lamont also wants more restrictions on "ghost guns,” which are unregistered guns assembled from a kit. An earlier state law only affects ghost guns made after 2019.
But a recent Supreme Court ruling could throw a wrench in Lamont's plans. It creates a tougher new standard for gun laws. As a result, Connecticut's assault weapons ban is now facing legal challenges from the National Association for Gun Rights and the Connecticut Citizens Defense League.
"There is pending litigation, and is it the right time to put more layers of restrictions on similar firearms to what's being discussed?” said CCDL president Holly Sullivan. "If the governor is serious about finding real solutions, invite gun owners to the table.”
Gun control advocates said they aren't deterred.
"We're certainly not going to stop passing laws to protect the safety of Connecticut residents,” said state Rep. Matt Blumenthal (D-Stamford). “We're going to be sophisticated to accommodate these decisions in whatever way we can."
Connecticut has passed several gun safety measures in the past few years. “Ethan’s Law,” named after a teenager from Guilford who accidentally shot himself with a friend’s unsecured gun, requires owners to lock their weapons. Earlier this year, Connecticut expanded the “Red Flag Law,” which allows a judge to take guns away from someone deemed dangerous.
Lawmakers head back to Hartford in three weeks.