U.S. state governor proposes more expansive gun laws

(Photo: Reuters / Ralph D. Freso)

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy on Thursday proposed new gun laws that would require universal background checks for all gun buyers, a ban on large-capacity magazines and on military-style assault weapons.

Malloy offered his plan as "common sense gun violence prevention." His proposal, which was revealed at a gun-violence forum at Western Connecticut State University, is the governor's first since the December's shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 28 people dead.

The Democratic governor wants background checks to extend to gun buyers even in private sales. People buying a gun from a private seller must pass a federal background check and their purchase would also be recorded with law enforcement, according to his proposal.

Malloy is also asking state legislators to pass a ban on all ammunition magazines that hold more than ten bullets. Residents would have until October 1 to sell them out of state or give them to police.

"While the tragedy at Sandy Hook provided a devastating reminder of the need of more sensible policy, the problem of gun violence is not confined to one community," said the Governor. "Communities throughout our state, particularly in our largest cities, continue to suffer from the scourge of gun violence regularly. Now is the time to act."

The proposal also outlines certain semiautomatic weapons that would be banned.

President Obama and many other state leaders have urged for a military-assault weapons ban following a string mass shootings across the country in recent years. The ban would apply to guns like the AR-15 Bushmaster, which police said was used by the Connecticut shooter to kill 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

(Photo: Reuters / Andrew Gombert / Pool)Dannel Malloy, Governor of Connecticut speaks to mourners gathered at a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

"Shootings like this are becoming an all too common occurrence in our country. That must change," said Malloy on Thursday.

The Governor also asked for people who have been convicted of murder, second-degree stalking, and possession of a controlled substance to be prohibited from possessing a firearm. Those who already have a gun permit may have it revoked under the new law.

A Sandy Hook taskforce is expected to follow up on Malloy's proposal with their own recommendations in preventing gun violence in March. In addition to gun laws, the report would also address mental health and school safety.

Vice President Joe Biden also spoke during the gun-violence forum Thursday, urging lawmakers to show "political courage" when it came to gun reform.

"If you are concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children," he said. "There is a moral price to pay for inaction."

Watch the video of Gov. Malloy's speech at the gun-violence forum below:

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