Connecticut lawmakers agree to strict new gun restrictions
Less than four months after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in a Newtown elementary school, a group of bipartisan leaders in Connecticut reached a late night consensus for sweeping new gun control laws.
The proposal, expected to pass both Democratic-led houses that make up the state legislature later this week, aims to ban high capacity ammunition magazines and create a registry for existing magazines that contain 10 bullets or more.
Those who do not register their ammunition clips, could be charged with a felony.
The potential law would also require background checks on all private gun sales.
The bill also would create a state-issued eligibility certificate that would be needed to buy any rifle, shotgun or ammunition in the state.
Recipients would be fingerprinted, undergo background checks and be required to attend firearms training courses.
The intended legislation is the culmination of weeks-long negotiation between members of the Democratic and Republican parties in the legislature.
Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., a Democrat from Brooklyn, Conn., said at the State Capitol Monday evening Connecticut is breaking the mold for the rest of the country.
"Democrats and Republicans were able to come to an agreement on a strong comprehensive bill," Williams said. "That is a message that should resound in 49 other states and in Washington D.C. [The] message is, 'We can get it done here and they should get it done in their respective states and nationally in Congress.'"
The bill is expected to get a vote from the state's General Assembly Wednesday.
The chamber's Republican leadership is equally keen on seeing the bill passed.
"No gun owner will lose their gun," said House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr., a Republican from Norwalk, Conn.. "No gun owner will lose their magazines."
The legislation is in response to the devastating aftermath of the massacre in Newtown.
On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza, armed with multiple weapons, fired 154 bullets in less than five minutes at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Considered the second worst school shooting in history, behind the Virginia Tech mass murders of 2007, Lanza was able to maximize the carnage thanks in part to high capacity magazines that held 30 bullets each.
The restrictions, which are expected to be signed into law within the week by Democratic Governor Daniel Mallory, would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
Connecticut is the third state to pass restrictive gun legislation after Newtown, following New York and Colorado.