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Tighter gun laws will start in CT this weekend

FILE, 2022: Po Murray, Chairman of the Newtown Action Alliance, leads a march to the National Shooting Sports Foundation headquarters during a vigil in Newtown following the school shooting in Uvalde, TX.
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Po Murray, Chairman of the Newtown Action Alliance, leads a march to the National Shooting Sports Foundation headquarters during a vigil in Newtown following the school shooting in Uvalde, TX.

A ban on the open carrying of firearms in public starts in Connecticut on Sunday, as part of several firearm-related provisions intended to strengthen the state’s gun laws.

The new law also limits most firearm buyers to three handguns purchases a month in the state, disqualifies domestic violence offenders from obtaining pistol permits and promotes safer gun storage.

Connecticut’s firearm laws already rank among the toughest in the United States. In 2013, lawmakers approved an expanded assault weapons ban in the aftermath of the 2012 Newtown school shooting, where 20 children and six educators were killed.

Mariam Azeez was in first grade at a different school in Newtown when the shooting happened.

At a gathering at the state Capitol in Hartford on Thursday, she spoke in support of the new gun laws and read an emotional poem, which she wrote in the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting in 2022.

“Witnessing 20 children my age in my town come home in body bags was traumatizing enough,” Azeez said. “I felt the burden of being the one who had to do something.”

In addition to curbing the use of the type of high-capacity firearms used in the Newtown shooting, the new legislation also looks to address gun violence in cities. In August, the Hartford community called for change after the city saw eight gun deaths in less than two weeks. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the newest legislation is needed to address the rise of ghost guns, which are firearms that lack serial numbers.

“In the past two weeks alone, the Hartford Police Department has recovered two ghost assault weapons,” Bronin said. “They routinely take high capacity magazines off the streets, which are involved in acts of crime.”

Bronin was among several mayors of Connecticut’s largest cities to speak out earlier this year on the need to target repeat gun offenders.

“[Those] with the highest risk of committing a shooting are those who have been previously convicted of the crime of criminal possession of a firearm,” Chief State's Attorney Patrick Griffin said, citing arrest data over the last two years.

Now, under the new state law, more strict rules for bail, probation, and parole for repeat firearm offenders will take effect.

Gun rights groups have fought Connecticut’s new gun measures in court, after the U.S. Supreme Court expanded gun rights last year and opened several states' gun laws to challenges. The plaintiffs say ready access to firearms is needed for self-protection.

Kelsey Hubbard Rollinsin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.

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