Last week in Connecticut, where less than four months ago
Adam Lanza fired 154 shots in four minutes from a Bushmaster AR-15
semiautomatic rifle, killing 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary
School, lawmakers passed and Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed what some called the
most comprehensive gun control measure in the nation.
The measure (SB 1160), drafted over the last month by a bipartisan group of
legislative leaders, among other things bans the sale of magazines carrying 10
or more bullets, expands the state's existing ban on assault weapons, mandates
background checks on all firearms purchasers and establishes a registry of
Gun owners and manufacturers, who had packed the Capitol carrying signs that
said "Connecticut the Un-Constitution State," "N.R.A. Stand and
Fight" and "Shall Not Be Infringed," said the legislation
focused on the wrong issues.
"It's a mental health issue, not a firearms issue," said Jake
McGuigan, director of government relations for the National Shooting Sports
Foundation, based in Newtown. "Nothing in this legislation would have
stopped what happened in this horrible tragedy in Sandy Hook."
The legislation includes mental health provisions, such as the creation of a
program to help teachers recognize signs of mental illness, but Sen. Donald E.
Williams Jr. (D) said mental health isn't the only issue involved in mass
"It's access to the weapons of war, the access to the weapons that can
kill mass amounts of children or adults in our schools and in our
communities," he said. "That's the essential issue when it comes to
In general, however, lawmakers were deeply divided on the issue. Two of the 22
Democrats in the Senate and 13 of the 98 Democrats in the House voted against
the bill, and six of the 14 Republicans in the Senate and 20 of the 51
Republicans in the House voted for it.
Sen. Catherine Osten, one of the Democrats who cast a no vote, said: "I
also cried when those children died that day, as everyone here did, and if I
could assure those parents that this legislation would stop that from happening
again, I would vote yes." (NEW YORK TIMES, STATE NET)
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