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Conn. Lawmakers Reach Deal on Tough Gun Laws after Newtown

 (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers have reached a deal on what they’re calling some of the toughest gun laws in the country that were proposed after the mass school shooting in the state in December.

Among the highlights are a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the massacre in Newtown, a new registry for existing high-capacity magazines and background checks for private gun sales.

Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr. of Brooklyn says the negotiations produced the “strongest and most comprehensive bill in the U.S.” that addresses gun restrictions. The proposal was revealed to rank-and-file lawmakers Monday after weeks of negotiations among legislative leaders.

The registry is something of a compromise. Some parents of the 20 first-graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School had wanted an outright ban on existing high-capacity magazines, while legislators had proposed grandfathering them into the law.

Some highlights from the proposal include the following:

GUN LAWS

–Ban sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines;

–Background checks for private gun sales;

–New registry for existing magazines that carry 10 or more bullets;

–Statewide dangerous weapon offender registry, which lawmakers said is the nation’s first;

–Immediate universal background checks for all firearms sales;

–Expansion of Connecticut’s assault weapons ban;

–Safety training and other requirements to buy any rifle, shotgun or ammunition;

–Increases minimum age eligibility for purchase of some semi-automatic rifles to 21;

– Expands requirements for safe storage of firearms;

– Increases penalties for firearms trafficking and illegal possession offenses.

SCHOOL SECURITY

–Creates statewide council to develop safety standards for school buildings;

–Requires each school to write safety plans;

–Requires state to maintain registry of school security consultants working in Connecticut;

–Requires all colleges and universities to submit safety plans to the state.

MENTAL HEALTH

–Bans people who voluntarily commit themselves to a hospital from getting gun permits or eligibility certificates within six months of their release;

– Bans people involuntarily committed to a hospital within the past 60 months from possessing a firearm or receiving a permit or eligibility certificate;

–Expands training to teach people to recognize signs of mental illness in young people and get them help;

–Creates group to study state’s mental health care system;

–Requires that requests for insurers to cover certain mental health services be considered urgent and shortens the review time for them from 72 to 24 hours.

Source: State task force on gun violence prevention and children’s safety

 

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