Sweeping gun bill advances in Connecticut, 1 day after Nashville school shooting

Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee vote was already scheduled before the shooting that killed three children and three adults at a private Christian school.

John Craven

Mar 28, 2023, 9:31 PM

Updated 427 days ago

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Just one day after a deadly elementary school shooting in Nashville, Connecticut lawmakers advanced Gov. Ned Lamont’s sweeping gun control proposal.
The timing was a tragic coincidence. Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee vote was already scheduled before the shooting that killed three children and three adults at a private Christian school.
“These were kids,” said Lamont. “They were 9-year-olds who were killed, and think about their classmates.”
After a three-hour debate, committee members approved Lamont’s wide-ranging proposal along party lines.
• Handgun purchases limited to one per month
• New 10-day waiting period
• Family violence crime disqualifier to obtain a pistol permit
• Long gun purchase age raised to 21
• All “ghost guns,” untraceable firearms assembled from a kit, must be registered (Currently, older weapons are exempt)
• Expanded safe storage law
• Higher penalties for possessing a high-capacity magazine
• Expanding assault weapons ban to include guns made before 1994 and those modified to avoid Connecticut’s existing ban
“Getting more of those illegal guns off the street,” said Lamont. “You can't buy too many of them; you've got to be 21 years of age. All little things that will make it a little safer for you.”
But would more laws prevent another Sandy Hook? Republicans said no.
“We must have reached the bottom of the barrel for gun control because so much has been passed in the state over the last decade, that they're just looking for anything,” said state Sen. Rob Sampson (R-Wolcott).
GOP lawmakers argued that Connecticut’s existing laws already make buying a gun a lengthy process – one that violent criminals don’t follow.
“Very often, the municipality won't even accept your application for six months or more,” said state Rep. Doug Dubitsky (R-Chaplin). “That is not directed at the people who actually commit crimes in this state. It's directed specifically at the people who don't.”
Lamont’s proposal also bans gun owners from openly carrying a firearm in public. Republicans suggested that provision violates a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sharply limits where guns can be banned.
Dubitsky and state Rep. Craig Fishbein (R-Wallingford), a fellow committee member, are also challenging Connecticut’s assault weapons ban in federal court. The state faces a separate lawsuit from the National Association for Gun Rights.
But after yet another shooting involving young children, Democrats said doing nothing is not an option.
“We don't need to go back any further than yesterday to see that gun violence continues to be a scourge on our nation,” said state Rep. Steve Stafstrom (D-Bridgeport), the committee’s co-chair.
The gun legislation now heads to the Connecticut House of Representatives, where it’s likely to undergo further changes.


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