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Connecticut lawmakers agree on gun control while Congress flails


As Congress struggles to gain bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for comprehensive gun legislation, Connecticut lawmakers have reached a deal for what they’re calling the toughest gun control laws in the country.

The bill’s package of laws include:

  • a ban on sales of high-capacity magazines with 10 or more bullets (a grandfather clause allows current owners to keep those magazines if registered in a newly-created magazine registry)
  • extends the state’s assault weapons ban to include 100 new types of guns
  • creates a dangerous weapon offender registry
  • implements immediate universal background checks for all firearm sales
  • addresses mental health and school safety measures

The Connecticut legislature is expected to vote on the package Wednesday.

“Kind of sounds like something we all wanted after Newtown,” co-host Mika Brzezinski said on Tuesday’s Morning Joe. “But it appears less and less likely that there will be dramatic changes to federal gun laws. The Washington Post reports this morning the Senate has struggled to gain support for universal background checks. Even bipartisan plans to make gun trafficking a federal crime could be gutted if lawmakers adopt new NRA-proposed language to the provision. The White House has also acknowledged bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are not politically viable.”

“Significant gun reform in Connecticut, but depressing,” commented Morning Joe regular Mike Barnicle.

Time magazine’s Mark Halperin countered that forces may change once the bill is open for a public debate on the Senate floor.

“I think you’ll see the president, the vice president, the forces who have been advertising, including Mayor Bloomberg, try to focus the country’s attention at that moment,” Halperin said. “The House is still a big problem for those who would like to see legislation pass, and there will be nowhere to hide at that point, not just for Republicans but for Democrats who have been reluctant to take some of this stuff up.”

Host Joe Scarborough agreed, referring to the reality of a gun control debate on the House floor when he was a Representative from Florida.

“It got on the floor and I remember others shifted the debate. I’d never seen anything like that. I think the shoe’s on the other foot now. I think you get this debate on the floor,” he said. “I think at the end of the day the NRA are going to give people a pass on making sure that rapists and people who have committed to assault–at least we have to screen them.”

Connecticut lawmakers agree on gun control while Congress flails