Connecticut approves gun laws
Following the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newton that left 20 children and six adults dead in December 2012, Connecticut has this week passed stricter gun laws that ban the sale of high-capacity clips.
Early on Thursday 4th April, governor Dannel P Malloy signed the new legislation, which completely bans the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips and states that the current owners of clips capable of holding ten or more bullets would be required to register them with the state.
The legislation was passed after much debate in the Connecticut’s State House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 105-44 and, according to Brian Malte director of mobilisation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has been described as one of the “strongest and toughest gun laws” to be passed in the US.
The tough legislation is a direct response to the December 2012 massacre in which Adam Lanza killed his mother, himself, 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Considered the catalyst for the mass debate over gun laws that has since occurred, the attack shocked people due to the fact that 20-year-old Lanza had used a legally purchased high-powered rifle that fired 154 rounds in less than five minutes.
According to a draft of the bill, the new legislation will add more than 100 firearms to the state’s assault weapons, limit the capacity of ammunition magazines to ten rounds, ban armor-piercing bullets and add a requirement for background checks for all firearms sales including at gun shows.
Furthermore, the bill will establish safety standards for school buildings, allow mental health training for teachers and, from 1st January 2014, will make owning an unregistered high-capacity clip a criminal offence.
The legislation, however, has not been popular with everyone. Indeed, The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other opponents of the bill have argued that the legislation infringes on the second amendment in the US constitution that states every individual has the right to bear arms. The NRA maintains that guns keep people safer and have questioned whether the legislation would have done anything to stop Lanza and the massacre that took place.
For the time being the future of US gun law reform remains divisive and undecided. Some, commentators, however, have called Connecticut’s decision to approve new gun laws a gradual step in the right direction.