Connecticut passes strictest gun law in the nation
This is what happens when overwrought passions are allowed to impact governance. It is exactly the kind of thing that the Founders feared; that emotional causes of the moment would infect the governing process and end up making bad laws.
That's why they were so careful to set up checks and balances, including the bicameral legislature. Unfortunately, it didn't work in Connecticut.
The House gave its blessing in the early morning Thursday after more than seven hours of debate, reports CBS Hartford, Conn. affiliate WFSB. The Senate had passed the legislation Wednesday.
The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was scheduled to sign it at noon on Thursday during a ceremony at the state Capitol.
"I pray today's bill -- the most far-reaching gun safety legislation in the country -- will prevent other families from ever experiencing the dreadful loss that the 26 Sandy Hook families have felt," said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, referring to the families of the 20 first graders and six educators killed Dec. 14 inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The December massacre, which reignited a national debate on gun control, set the stage for changes in the state that may have been impossible elsewhere: The governor, who personally informed parents that their children had been killed that day, championed the cause, and legislative leaders, keenly aware of the attention on the state, struck a bipartisan agreement they want to serve as a national model.
The bill passed 26-10 in the Senate and 105-44 in the House of Representatives. Both were bipartisan votes.
The legislation adds more than 100 firearms to the state's assault weapons ban and creates what officials have called the nation's first dangerous weapon offender registry as well as eligibility rules for buying ammunition. Some parts of the bill would take effect immediately after Malloy's signature, including background checks for all firearms sales.
Connecticut will join states including California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts in having the country's strongest gun control laws, said Brian Malte, director of mobilization for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington.
"This would put Connecticut right at the top or near the top of the states with the strongest gun laws," Malte said.
Colorado and New York also passed new gun control requirements in the wake of the Newtown shooting, in which a 20-year-old gunman used a military-style semi-automatic rifle.
Some, if not most of the restrictions will be challenged in court. In the meantime, Connecticut residents must live under a law that wouldn't be tolerated if similar restrictions were applied to the First Amendment.
Chalk one up to excessive emotion - and politicians who shamelessly exploit it for their own political advantage.