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Conn. Senate approves sweeping gun control bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 4, 2013 at 1:22 am •  Published: April 3, 2013
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"I stand here as their voice, as their elected representative," he said, reciting the names of the 26 victims at the school.

Gun rights advocates who greatly outnumbered gun control supporters in demonstrations held earlier in the day at the Capitol railed against the proposals as misguided and unconstitutional, occasionally chanting "No! No! No!" and "Read the bill!"

"We want them to write laws that are sensible," said Ron Pariseau, of Pomfret, who was angry he'll be made a felon if he doesn't register his weapons that will no longer be sold in Connecticut. "What they're proposing will not stop anything."

By the time the Senate voted, many of the gun rights advocates had gone home, leaving behind proponents of the bill who applauded when the tally was read.

In the legislature, where Democrats control both houses, leaders waited to unveil gun legislation until they struck a bipartisan deal that they say shows how the parties can work together elsewhere. They touted the package as a comprehensive response to Newtown that also addresses mental health and school security measures, including the creation of a new council to establish school safety standards and the expansion of circumstances when someone's mental history disqualifies him or her from obtaining a gun permit or other gun credentials.

But momentum on federal legislation has stalled in Congress, and President Barack Obama has planned a trip to Connecticut on Monday to step up pressure to pass a bill.

A silent majority in favor of stronger gun control has emerged following the Newtown massacre, Gallo said.

Among the gun control advocates were Dan and Lauren Garrett, of Hamden, wearing green shirts in honor of the Sandy Hook victims. The Garretts traveled to Hartford with their 10-month-old son, Robert, to watch the bill's passage. They said they hope lawmakers will build on the proposal.

"It's just the beginning of this bill. In six months from now, it's going to get stronger and stronger," Dan Garrett said. "I think they're watching us all over the country."

But gun rights advocates and some lawmakers questioned whether the legislation would have done anything to stop Adam Lanza, the gunman who blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary. State police say he fired 154 shots with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle inside the school, then killed himself with a handgun. He had shot to death his mother, Nancy, before going to the school, and search warrants of the Lanzas' home showed it was packed with weapons and ammunition.

In a state where gun manufacturing dates back to the Revolutionary War, law-abiding gun owners are paying the price for the actions of a deranged young man, said a Republican state senator, Tony Guglielmo.

"The problem is I can't connect the dots between Adam Lanza and the good guys. So I think we need to do something, but I guess we should be doing something that does good, not something that just feels good," he said.

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Associated Press writers Stephen Kalin and Michael Melia in Hartford and John Christoffersen in New Haven contributed to this report.