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Connecticut senators revive fight for federal assault weapons ban, as governor aims to tighten state law

Mark Mirko
Connecticut Public
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (left) and Jeremy Stein, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence (right), meets with reporters on Jan. 27, 2023, to discuss proposed federal legislation that would ban more than 200 military-style assault weapons.

Connecticut’s U.S. senators are reintroducing a federal ban on assault weapons in an effort to curb mass shootings.

The last federal assault weapons ban started in 1994, but it expired 10 years later. Now Sen. Chris Murphy is asking his colleagues to support a proposal that would ban the sale, manufacture and transfer of 205 military-style assault weapons.

“We name them in this legislation, and we make it clear that in this country, we are going to allow individuals to be able to buy a gun to protect themselves, or to hunt or to shoot for sport, but we are not going to allow individuals to possess weapons that are designed for the purpose of mass murder,” Murphy said.

Murphy was joined by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, as well as anti-gun violence advocate Jeremy Stein, who held up pictures of a bear shot with a military-style weapon.

“The hole that it makes is the size of a plum, and in one indication it looks almost like the size of an orange. And I’ve heard doctors describe the devastation that an AR-15 does as almost similar to a grenade exploding in a body,” Stein told reporters on Friday.

Stein is executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence. The organization was founded by women fighting gun violence in cities and has lobbied for gun control for 30 years.

The senators said that if federal lawmakers won’t pass an assault weapons ban, they’d like to see the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon go from 18 to 21.

At the state level, Gov. Ned Lamont is proposing to further regulate some 80,000 assault weapons grandfathered in beyond Connecticut’s state ban. That ban, which has been credited with helping to make the state’s gun laws some of the strictest in the nation, was established in the wake of the 2012 Newtown school shooting that took the lives of 20 children and six educators.

Lamont wants to take the federal proposal to raise the age to purchase assault weapons a step further by asking Connecticut to raise the minimum age to purchase all firearms to 21.

Frankie Graziano’s career in broadcast journalism continues to evolve.

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