Conneticut gun law may serve as model elsewhere

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law sweeping new restrictions on weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines Thursday in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, a bipartisan deal that gun control proponents hope will spark action in Washington and state legislatures across the country.

Just four months ago, the governor broke the news to shocked parents that their children had been slaughtered in the Newtown school. On Thursday, four of those parents joined him as he signed the bill into law during a somber ceremony at the state Capitol, his act giving Connecticut some of the toughest gun control laws in the country.

Malloy hugged each of the parents and gave them a pen he used to sign the bill.

“We have come together in a way that relatively few places in our nation have demonstrated an ability to do,” he said.

Since the Dec. 14 shooting in which 20 children and six educators were killed, some of their family members have become accidental gun control advocates, pressing for both tougher state and federal laws.

“This is a path I never thought my life would take. But working to save the lives of others is one way that I can honor Dylan’s life,” said Nicole Hockley, referring to her 6-year-old son who was killed at Sandy Hook. “We want Newtown to be known not for our tragedy but for transformation.”

Malloy said he’s become friends with some of the parents and promised to keep working with them to enact further law changes that address gun violence.

“Today does not mark the end of our efforts,” Malloy said.

Malloy and gun control advocates said they hope the new law, crafted by legislative leaders from both parties during several weeks of negotiations, coupled with President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the state Monday, will spur action in Washington.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who still hopes that Congress can enact universal background checks for gun purchases, said many colleagues he’s spoken to were deeply affected by the shooting.

“They may not be there yet in their votes, but emotionally in their hearts they know what the right thing to do is and I’m hoping that they’ll be inspired by Connecticut to do the right thing,” he said.

In an interview on Fox News, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre criticized the legislation.

“The problem with what Connecticut did is the criminals, the drug dealers, the people that are going to do horror and terror, they aren’t going to cooperate,” he said.

At the stroke of Malloy’s pen on Thursday, the new law added more than 100 firearms to the state’s assault weapons ban, effective immediately.

The new law also immediately bans the sale of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. People who purchased those guns and magazines before midnight Wednesday will be allowed to keep them, so long as they’re registered with the state police before Jan. 1. Required background checks for private gun sales also take effect.

Other parts of the new law that take effect over the coming year include a ban on armor-piercing bullets, establishment of a deadly weapon offender registry, expansion of circumstances when a person’s mental health history disqualifies them from holding a gun permit, mandatory reporting of voluntary hospital commitments, doubled penalties for gun trafficking and other firearms violations, and $1 million to fund the statewide firearms trafficking task force.

Members of Malloy’s administration met Thursday morning to discuss how to implement the legislation. Malloy said the affected state agencies plan to have everything in place by Aug. 1.

Connecticut lawmakers spent more than 13 hours debating the measure. Ultimately, the bill passed both chambers with bipartisan votes.

“I pray today’s bill — the most far-reaching gun safety legislation in the country — will prevent other families from ever experiencing the dreadful loss that the 26 Sandy Hook families have felt,” said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz.

Some Connecticut lawmakers questioned whether the wide-ranging bill would have prevented 20-year-old Adam Lanza from blasting his way into his former elementary school.

“These laws will only be obeyed by people who choose to obey them. Criminals will still have their guns and their magazines and they will still commit their crimes,” said Republican Rep. Robert Sampson. “Do we really think do we really think that adding more laws to our books would have stopped him?”

———

Associated Press Stephen Kalin contributed to this report. Follow Susan Haigh on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SusanHaighAP .

More in Local News

A close friendship is lost to fire

An 88-year-old Smokey Point mobile home resident died despite a valiant effort by neighbors.

Jensen Webster sorts through food stuffs at the Sultan High School in Sultan on March 14, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Sultan school children take charge to help their peers

The Sky Valley Youth Coalition has installed pantries at schools so kids can take food home.

Everett woman found dead identified as 21-year-old

There were no obvious signs of trauma on the body of Brianna Leigh Nyer.

Ivar’s in Mukilteo closes for disinfection after illnesses

The Snohomish Health District said it’s not certain what caused some patrons to get sick.

State will spend millions on task forces and reports

Here are eight undertakings that will incite possible action by lawmakers in the future.

Everett man admits deadly slashing of 2 Maltby-area women

John Dimitri Kuljis Jr. pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

State: Secret deal endangers Marysville Strawberry Festival

The “bizarre” agreement promises a former leader up to $175,000 if the group fails to meet his demands.

Two-day event will offer free medical and dental services

The Amen Everett Free Clinic is expected to serve 400 to 500 patients Friday and Sunday.

Talks to begin on emergency radio system contract

Motorola Solutions Inc. has been chosen to build a replacement for the current 911 radio system.

Most Read