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CT’s Assault-Weapons Ban Survives Court Challenge

The Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Newtown Police/Wikimedia Commons)
The Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Newtown Police/Wikimedia Commons)
June 22, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut's ban on assault weapons has survived a challenge in federal court.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of a federal court ruling upholding the state ban on the sale of military-style assault rifles and large-capacity magazines. Ron Pinciaro, executive director of the group Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said he wasn't surprised by the ruling.

"We felt that there was a public safety interest here that superseded what some thought would be unconstitutional in light of the Second Amendment," he said.

Gun owners and firearms dealers had challenged the law, claiming the ban violates a constitutionally guaranteed right to own a gun for self-defense.

Connecticut's law was passed in 2013 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 20 children and six staff members were killed. Pinciaro said reaction by state residents has been strong to the June 12 mass killing in Orlando and the U.S. Senate's failure on Monday to pass any of four bills to ban sales of firearms to people on no-fly and terrorist watch lists.

"They are again horrified that Congress refuses to do anything about it," he said, "and of course, the effort in Congress was led by our Connecticut senators."

Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., led a 15-hour filibuster to force the Senate to vote on the bills, but they were all defeated.

Pinciaro said Connecticut has the second-strongest gun laws in the country and the fourth-lowest rate of deaths by firearms.

"So, we know that smart gun laws work," he said. "We know that smart gun laws save lives, and we just wish that Congress would have the courage to at least do some of the things that we've already done here."

The U.S. Supreme Court also turned down a separate case on Monday challenging the state of New York's law banning assault weapons.

More information is online at cagv.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT