Connecticut Gov. Lamont unveils legislation aimed at preventing mass shootings

All the bills will be presented to the General Assembly next month.

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Thursday, January 26, 2023
Lamont unveils legislation aimed at preventing mass shootings
CT Gov. Ned Lamont is proposing a second set of legislation aimed at tackling gun violence. The newest bills focus on preventing mass shootings. Marcus Solis has the story.

HARTFORD, Connecticut (WABC) -- Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont unveiled a second set of legislation aimed at tackling gun violence Thursday.

The newest bills focus on preventing mass shootings. They were unveiled days after three back-to-back mass shootings in California made national headlines.

The new legislation would close loopholes in the state's assault weapons ban; strengthen penalties related to Connecticut's existing ban on large-capacity magazines; and increase the minimum age for purchasing all firearms to 21.

"We've shown in Connecticut that we can implement laws that respect the rights of Americans to own guns for their own protection and sportsmanship while also acknowledging that we must take actions to protect public safety," Lamont said. "These proposals continue that fair, commonsense balance."

Lamont is expected to announce a third set of gun control bills in the coming days.

All three sets will then be presented to the General Assembly in February.

The first of the three packages was announced Monday.

That plan includes a statewide ban on the open carrying of guns in public places, eliminating bulk purchasing of handguns, and requiring registration of ghost guns.

Supporters say the package is needed to help curb rising gun violence and crack down on illegal firearms around the state. Hartford, for example, recorded 39 murders in 2022, the most in two decades.

"That sense of anxiety and fear that many people sense - it doesn't do us any good to say we're in one of the safest states in the country ... and people don't feel safe," Lamont said. "Over this last tough few years, the shootings are up. They're up across the country. They're up in our state."

Lamont and others at the news conference also referred to Saturday night's shooting that killed 10 people at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance club, in expressing their dismay and in talking about the need for more gun control.

The governor, however, did not include in his proposals a plan he talked about during his re-election campaign last year - eliminating an exception to the bans on certain semiautomatic rifles that allows people who owned such firearms before the bans took effect to keep them.

Republicans in the Democratic-controlled legislature issued statements criticizing the governor's proposals as focusing too much on law-abiding citizens and not enough on criminals who aren't obeying the law.

"Today the Governor and Democrats pitched a familiar path to an 'everybody problem' by offering proposals that will again have law-abiding gun owners carrying most of the freight," said House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora. "Missing from their news conference was any talk about focusing on the people who are squarely responsible for causing mayhem in our communities."

Republican Rep. Craig Fishbein, House ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, added, "If enacted, these new proposals will do more to harass and restrict law-abiding citizens from exercising their Constitutional Rights, and little to curb the increased violent crime sweeping through our state."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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