Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Connecticut Lawmakers Reach Deal on Nation’s Toughest Gun Control Legislation

Connecticut lawmakers have reached a deal on what many are calling the nation’s strictest gun control legislation three months after 26 people, including 20 young children, were killed in one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.

NBC news reports that state legislators agreed on a compromise bill that would ban large-capacity magazines such as the ones Adam Lanza used to fire 154 rounds in 4 minutes during the December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown that left 27 dead. Under the ban, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would be prohibited. The bill also includes a new registry for existing high capacity magazines and background checks for private gun sales. It also expands the state’s existing ‘assault’ weapons ban by adding 34 more weapons to the list of banned semi-automatic ‘assault’-style guns. The measure increases penalties for gun trafficking and expands the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners to include a retired judge and a mental health professional.

The bill has already drawn criticism because it contains a ‘grandfather clause’ that allows current owners of high capacity magazines to keep them. Among those who object to this clause are Gov. Dannell Malloy and many families of Sandy Hook victims.

“I have been clear for weeks that a ban on the possession and sale of high capacity magazines is an important part of our efforts to prevent gun violence– simply banning their sale moving forward would not be an effective solution,” Malloy, a Democrat, said in a statement released on Monday.

Supporters of the proposed bill dismissed critics’ concerns and argued that it would impose some of the toughest gun control measures in the nation.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, a Republican who represents Newtown, called the bill “the most comprehensive package in the country because of its breadth” at a Monday news conference.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), the nation’s largest pro-gun lobby group, slammed the proposed legislation as “completely inadequate” for preventing future Newtown-type shootings. The NRA’s ‘National School Shield’ calls for the training and arming of at least one staff member at each school and the implementation of school safety plans.

Some schools districts across America have heeded the NRA’s advice. In Fontana, California, school police purchased more than a dozen AR-15 rifles which are stored in locked safes in the city’s schools. Marlboro Township, New Jersey has posted armed police officers in all nine of its schools. And teachers across the country have been scrambling to get gun training in the wake of the Newtown tragedy as some states, including Arizona, have introduced legislation to allow teachers to carry guns in schools.

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