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“Pressure Builds” for CT Gun Safety Post Sandy Hook

February 12, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. - Expanded background checks on firearms buyers and putting limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines are two of more than a dozen ways Connecticut lawmakers are proposing to update state gun laws in response to the Newtown tragedy.

National Rifle Association leaders oppose background checks because, they say, criminals could not care less about them. However, Sue McCalley, gun-law specialist with the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, disagreed with the NRA's logic.

"That would make the case for not having any laws at all," she declared. "With the background check, especially if the data is brought up to speed, this will make a difference in terms of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals."

McCalley said Connecticut has closed the "gun show loophole" so that background checks are required for primary and secondary sales of handguns. But, she added, the law needs to be strengthened to require those checks for long-gun sales in the secondary market.

McCalley said lawmakers will once again try to ban high-capacity magazines that hold more than seven cartridges. She said they began a similar effort more than a decade ago, but that assault weapons reform was successfully opposed by the NRA and its allies.

"This is a good example of how it is quite hypocritical for the gun lobby to be talking about 'Just enforce the laws we have,' because they made sure that the laws we have are as weakened as they could make them at the time," McCalley charged. "So we do need to strengthen them."

She said this week's Valentine's Day March for Change is aimed at letting lawmakers know that what she called the local "silent majority" won't be silent on the need for gun safety any more.

"The main impact of Sandy Hook was the realization that we have a right to public safety," McCalley asserted. "The argument does not start and end with the Second Amendment, and the Second Amendment is right with responsibility."

She said the League is proud to join with the organization Connecticut Against Gun Violence in the march, which is to take place at 11 a.m. Thursday in Bushnell Park behind the Capitol.

More information is at MarchForChange.org.

The bills mentioned are HB5937 Background, HB5949 Ammunition Devices.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT