HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers announced a deal Monday on what they called some of the toughest gun laws in the country that were proposed after the December mass shooting in the state, including a ban on new high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the massacre that left 20 children and six educators dead.
The proposal includes new registration requirements for existing magazines that carry 10 or more bullets, something of a disappointment for some family members of Newtown victims who wanted an outright ban on the possession of all high-capacity magazines and traveled to the state Capitol on Monday to ask lawmakers for it.
The package also creates what lawmakers said is the nation's first statewide dangerous weapon offender registry, creates a new "ammunition eligibility certificate," imposes immediate universal background checks for all firearms sales, and extends the state's assault weapons ban to 100 new types of firearms and requires that a weapon have only one of several features in order to be banned.
The newly banned weapons could no longer be bought or sold in Connecticut, and those legally owned already would have to be registered with the state, just like the high-capacity magazines.
"No gun owner will lose their gun," said House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr., a Norwalk Republican. "No gun owner will lose their magazines."
The bill also addresses mental health and school security measures.
The shooting Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School reignited the gun debate in the country and led to calls for increased gun control legislation on the federal and state levels. While some other states, including neighboring New York, have strengthened their gun laws, momentum has stalled in Congress, whose members were urged by President Barack Obama last week not to forget the shooting and to capitalize on the best chance in years to stem gun violence.
Connecticut should be seen as an example for lawmakers elsewhere, said Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., a Brooklyn Democrat.
"In Connecticut, we've broken the mold," he said. "Democrats and Republicans were able to come to an agreement on a strong, comprehensive bill. That is a message that should resound in 49 other states and in Washington, D.C. And the message is: We can get it done here and they should get it done in their respective states and nationally in Congress."
The proposal was revealed to rank-and-file lawmakers Monday after weeks of bipartisan, closed-door negotiations among legislative leaders. A vote was expected Wednesday in the General Assembly, where Democrats control both chambers, making passage all but assured. The bill would then be sent to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has helped lead efforts to strengthen the state's gun laws but has not yet signed off on the proposed legislation.
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