Connecticut's New Gun Control Law
In response to the deaths of 20 young children and six elementary school educators and personnel in Newtown last December, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law today new gun control provisions that will significantly restrict the ownership and use of certain types of weaponry and ammunition. The bill signed by Governor Malloy was passed by the Connecticut legislature earlier this week with bipartisan support. The new law accomplishes the following:
- Bans the sale, purchase, transfer and importation of high-capacity ammunition clips that hold 10 or more bullets and requires existing owners of such clips to register them with the state;
- Buyers of firearms in Connecticut will be required to pass a national criminal background check;
- Individuals convicted of certain gun crimes must register with the state;
- The list of banned assault weapons will be expanded from a list of 66 weapons to a list of more than 150;
- The private sale of rifles and shotguns will be regulated; and
- $15 million dollars will be allocated to enhance school safety and mental health monitoring.
Safe Storage of Firearms
In addition to tighter regulations on the sale and purchase of firearms and ammunition, the new legislation also expands upon current requirements for safe storage in households with minors aged 16 and under by further requiring safe storage when the gun owner knows that someone living in the house poses an imminent danger to himself or others, regardless of age. This specific provision is designed to curtail the ability of individuals who would not otherwise be able to obtain a gun under Connecticut law, but could gain access to a firearm and ammunition because it is readily available to them in their own home.
What Was Left Out
While the new law is welcome news to gun control advocates in Connecticut, the gun lobby was nonetheless successful in tabling some important provisions that might have otherwise been a part of the bill signed today. Connecticut legislators, pressured by gun lobbyists, declined to ban all high-capacity clips (including existing clips), opting for registration from current owners, and declined to require annual registration of handguns with proof that the gun is still with the original owner, even though studies have shown that most of the state’s gun murders are carried out using guns that are no longer with the original owner.
Some of the provisions of the new law will take effect immediately while others will be phased in over time.