It took months, but a bipartisan consensus bill from Republicans and Democrats in the predominantly Democratic General Assembly has emerged.
Lawmakers in the state of Connecticut will vote on a sweeping set of gun restrictions, including a ban on new high-capacity magazines.More from local television station WTNH:
The proposal requires background checks on all gun sales and expands the state's assault weapons ban.
It comes as new federal gun measures appear to have stalled in Congress.
Under the bill, it would be illegal in Connecticut to buy or sell any gun magazine that holds more than ten rounds.Passage is almost assured, and Connecticut will be able to say they responded in a bipartisan and responsible fashion.
Connecticut gun owners who already have magazines that hold more than ten, can keep them, but they have to be registered with the state by January 1st. If you have one, and don't register it, you can be charged with a class D felony.
If you have a grandfathered, high capacity magazine, you could only fully load it at home, or at a gun range. If you are licensed to carry, you can only load ten rounds, even if the gun holds more.
The bill would also require that you have a special state certificate, to buy any rifle, shotgun, or even ammunition. You'll have to take a class, be fingerprinted, and pass a background check to get one.
The bill also greatly expands the state assault weapons ban, adding 100 new guns to the list of what is considered an "illegal assault weapon." Those already owned will have to be registered.
It also requires universal background checks for all guns bought and sold in the state, including private sales of rifles and shotguns.
The bill creates a statewide "dangerous weapon offender" registry, and expands laws governing how guns must be stored and locked in the home.
Lawmakers from both parties say the bill won't make everyone happy, but they say it is a fair compromise that should pass this week.
Voting will begin as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday. More on this below the fold.
On the other side, initial response was muted. From Bloomberg:
"We have not seen the bill” and won’t comment on it until after having read it, Michael Bazinet, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun-manufacturer’s group based in Newtown, said by e-mail. “We need a public hearing on this legislation,” he said.But the bipartisan nature of the bill will make it hard to defeat:
House Republican Leader Larry Cafero, from Norwalk, said firearms enthusiasts won concessions that would let them keep weapons and magazines banned from future sales.Some Newtown families of victims lobbied heavily for this bill and wanted more done on already owned ordinance.
“No gun owner will lose their gun,” Cafero said. “No gun owner will lose their magazines.”
Representative Tom Vicino, a Clinton Democrat, said he was “dazed” after talking to the families.In Connecticut, a small state, pressure like that is personal, and takes a toll on everyone involved. The courage and conviction of the families inspire all of us to double down on efforts to get this passed, and using Connecticut as an example, turn to Congress for their part.
“I feel really bad,” he said, sweat pouring off his forehead. “I don’t remember the last five minutes. I have two kids.”
He paused and looked at the picture of a 6-year-old victim that a mother had given him.
“She handed me this photo,” he said. “Jesus.”
While it's clear that media has already decided what they're going to write about in terms of gun responsibility in the Senate, the Connecticut effect still has to run its course.
Stay tuned for the sequel.