Connecticut has passed sweeping gun control legislation. I stand up and applaud the bipartisan effort it took to pass the sweeping legislation. Again I will reiterate that gun control laws will not stop every single act of random violence. Instead, the purpose of the legislation is to try to decrease gun violence in the United States; specifically, in this instance, in Connecticut.
1. It has bipartisan support. Certainly more Democrats than Republicans supported the bill, but the vote in the state House was 105 to 44, with 40 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats voting for it. Earlier, the Senate voted with only 2 of the 22 Democrats opposing the law. Nearly half of Connecticut Senate Republicans voted for the measure.
2. It expands the state’s assault weapons ban. Connecticut already has an Assault Weapons Ban in place, but the new law will add over 100 new types of guns to the banned list. Among these is the Bushmaster AR-15 gun, which is what the Sandy Hook gunman used in his horrific killing spree. People who already own such weapons will be permitted to keep them, but must comply with new registration standards.
3. Magazine clips will be limited to 10 rounds. Connecticut’s new law will immediately ban the sale of any large-capacity magazine clips that hold more than 10 rounds. Gun owners who’ve already purchased high-capacity clips will be grandfathered in, but they register any extended clips they have, if they plan to keep them. And they can’t bring those bigger clips around with them; the new law requires that any extended magazines still on the market be used only in a private home or at a shooting range.
4. All gun and ammunition sales will require a background check. Effective immediately, every single sale of a gun or of bullets in the state of Connecticut must include a background check. Universal background checks are probably the most widely supported measure in Connecticut’s new gun law; nationally, background checks have 92 percent support.
5. Mental health isn’t left out of the equation. Not every measure in the new law intends to regulate firearms; the bill also includes expanded funding for mental health research, and allows for greater training on mental health issues for Connecticut’s teachers. The bill also creates a council in the state with the express purpose of determining how schools can be more safe, and when mental health records should block someone from being able to purchase a firearm.
Remember that one of the stock slogans that the pro-gun lobby likes to use is that the only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with the gun. Let’s look at what happened to a good man with the gun in Texas over the weekend:
Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland took no chances after one of his assistant prosecutors was assassinated two months ago. McLelland said he carried a gun everywhere he went and took extra care when answering the door at his home.
“I’m ahead of everybody else because, basically, I’m a soldier,” the 23-year Army veteran boasted in an interview less than two weeks ago.
On Saturday, he and his wife were found dead in their home just outside the town of Forney, about 20 miles from Dallas, killed in an attack for which authorities have given no motive.
I’ve not heard the official response from the NRA or any other gun lobbyists on the shooting. It’ll be interesting how they spin it. The bottom line, as I see it, is that more guns do not make us safer.