Gun violence

Governor Releases Details on New Proposals to Curb Gun Violence

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The governor has announced a second set of proposals to address gun violence and said they are intended to help in the fight against mass shootings.

Lamont said the proposals include raising the age to purchase all firearms to 21, expanding the assault weapons ban and strengthening penalties related to the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines.

On Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced what he said is the second of three sets of proposals he will have this session in an effort to eliminate gun violence.

“As more and more mass shootings have occurred in the United States over the last decade, federal and state laws have not kept up with the innovative ways firearm companies are manufacturing guns that have the sole purpose of killing the largest number of humans within the shortest amount of time,” Lamont said in a statement.

“I want to be clear – we are not talking about guns that have been created for hunting or protection, but rather the focus here is on assault weapons that are being created for mass human casualty,” Lamont added.

This is what the governor’s office said the proposals are meant to do:

Close loopholes in the state’s assault weapons ban

The governor’s office said the state’s existing assault weapons ban includes several loopholes that leave a few categories of weapons unregulated.

Lamont is proposing to expand the assault weapons ban to include the following:

  • Pre-September 13, 1994 firearms, or “pre-ban weapons” that have been grandfathered in under Connecticut’s 1994 assault weapons ban.
    • Pre-ban weapons include AR-style rifles and are legal to be sold, possessed, and carried into the state whether or not they have forward pistol grips, flash suppressors, barrel shrouds, or other features that were banned under the 2013 law.
  • “Other” weapons
    • Lamont said the 2013 law regulates only pistols, rifles, and shotguns and several manufacturers are selling weapons specifically designed to fall into a loophole by having a barrel length longer than 12 inches to avoid classification as a pistol and a so-called “pistol brace” on the back to avoid classification as a rifle.
  • Rimfire rifles
    • The governor said this category includes assault weapons that are typically used for hunting but are sometimes customized into assault-weapon-style rifles to evade bans like Connecticut’s. These rifles are currently allowed if they have fewer than two banned features.

Lamont is proposing to open a new registration period for these weapons to allow current owners to continue possessing them and bar future purchases and sales.

Strengthening penalties related to the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines

Under existing law, the penalty on a first offense for possession of a large-capacity magazine obtained before the 2013 date of the ban is an infraction requiring a $90 fine, the governor’s office said. Any subsequent offense is a class D felony, which can result in a prison sentence between one to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.

The governor is proposing that the first offense provision of the law be eliminated and all offenses of this statute be considered a class D felony, enabling enforcement of the ban.

He said it is nearly impossible for prosecutors in first-offense cases to prove that the magazine was obtained after the 2013 effective date because magazines are not serialized.

Increasing the age to purchase all firearms to 21

Lamont said federal and state laws require anyone seeking to buy handguns to be 21 or older, while buyers must be at least 18 to purchase most types of long guns.

The governor is proposing that people have to be 21 or older to buy all types of firearms.

Lamont said the purchase requirements would not impact the ability of anyone under 21 to use firearms as permitted under existing law.

Lamont will present his proposals to the General Assembly in February.

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