Thursday, April 04, 2013

Connecticut enacts tough new gun law

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I used to think of Connecticut as that mildly pleasant but largely forgettable parcel of land that you drove through to get from New York to Boston and vice versa, back when my family lived in New Jersey and I went to college in the Boston area.

Okay, I still think of it that way sometimes, but, then, it's also the state where Sandy Hook happened, and now it's the state that has enacted serious new gun control legislation in response to that horrific event:

After more than 13 hours of debate that was at moments impassioned and agonized, the General Assembly early Thursday approved an historic and far-reaching gun-control bill that proponents said was their toughest-in-the-nation response to the Dec. 14 Newtown school massacre.

A majority of Republicans in both the House and Senate voted against the bill, shame be upon them, but it's nonetheless a solidly bipartisan piece of legislation.

Governor Malloy, a Democrat, signed the bill into law at noon today.

ThinkProgress looks at the law's key elements:

-- expansion of the state's assault weapons ban;

-- magazine clips limited to ten rounds;
-- all gun and ammunition sales require a background check; and
-- additional funding for mental health research, plus other mental health measures.

No, it's not as comprehensive, and as restrictive, as I would like, but it's probably the best that ban be achieved given the current political and cultural climate -- and, obviously, more can be done in a fairly progressive state like Connecticut than in most other states. As such, it appears to be the gold standard for gun control at the state level.

The NRA and the rest of the extremist gun nuts will of course continue to do everything they can to block such initiatives, but hopefully this, following on similar efforts in New York State, will propel gun control forward even if nothing much of significance is done federally. That is, hopefully with other states following (and Maryland may be next) it will build momentum for meaningful change across the country.

It will take time, after all, to fix America's gun-obsessed culture, time to overcome the gun lobby, for public opinion to shift even more than it has already, and for politicians to react to the new political reality.

It won't be easy. We've seen that already, time and time again. But maybe, just maybe, it's happening.

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  • can't wait to you get robbed and all you have is a phone to call the police and they come to your need 10 minutes later. maybe you could write and article about police responses times.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:12 PM  

  • explain how this will prevent another sandy hook? If the laws are not universal from state to state, done at the federal level, nothing has changed. last time i went from NJ to NY to CT no one searched my car for high capacity magazines and assault weapons. This has done nothing to protect the children or the law abiding gun owners and non-gun owners of CT. yet again our elected officials have failed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:15 PM  

  • Anonymous #1: No one is talking about taking all guns away. Look at what's in the Connecticut bill, or the New York bill. And if you need to fend off a robber, I'm not sure you really need an assault weapon.

    Anonymous #2: I'm not saying it will. All I'm saying here is that it might be a start.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 12:20 AM  

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