One hundred ten days out from the massacre of twenty children and six educators at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut joins Colorado, and New York in enacting comprehensive anti-gun violence laws.
Late Wednesday night at the state capitol in Hartford, with hundreds of Connecticutians representing both sides of the contentious firearms imbroglio in attendance, tough anti-gun violence legislation was passed into law. The bill, a bipartisan effort, which was vociferously opposed by the National Rifle Association, second amendment stalwarts and gun enthusiasts, strengthens and expands the existing Connecticut Assault Weapons Ban.
Currently, the sale of sixty-six specified firearms is prohibited within the state limits.
The new law, effective on passage, designates as banned more than one hundred additional firearms deemed by their physical characteristics to be military assault style models, the sale of all high capacity magazines holding more than ten rounds and all armor piercing ammunition.
The newly minted law establishes the nation's first 'Dangerous Weapons Offenders' registry,
a top priority among the state's urban mayors and the Police Chief's Association.
Effective immediately there will be a 'Universal Background Check' requirement for all gun purchases and an 'Eligibility Certificate' will be required for the purchase of 'long guns' and their ammunition. Eligibility Certification will require the applicant to be fingerprinted, undergo a firearms safety training course, a national criminal background check, and a
(mental health) involuntary commitment/voluntary admission check before the purchase
of the firearm. The age requirement for possession of a center fire, semi-automatic rifle not banned by the legislation, will rise from eighteen to twenty-one years of age.
The Gun Violence Prevention and Child Safety Act will immediately prohibit the sale of high capacity ammunition magazines at gun stores, gun shows (thus closing the 'gun show loop hole'), as well as and in all private transactions. Penalties for illegal possession and trafficking of firearms and ammunition will be significantly increased to a class D felony. The existing Board of Firearm Examiners will be broadened to include both a Superior Court Judge and a mental health professional
Magazines of more than ten rounds currently owned by state residents will be 'grandfathered' under the new legislation. They will remain legal to possess but must be registered by January 1, 2014.
With the passage of the bill, no firearm in the state of Connecticut, regardless of the capacity of the magazine ( with the exception of inside the individual's home or at an approved shooting range ) may be loaded with more than ten bullets.
This line item, in the bill, although very important to many of the families of the Sandy Hook, who hoped to see all large magazines rendered illegal, was defeated in the legislation process.