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Published on April 2nd, 2013 | by -swansong-2
CT Gun Control:Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention Bill
In the weeks following the Sandy Hook Shootings a group comprised of Connecticut politicians/legislators was formed to discuss, make recommendations and ultimately craft the Gun Violence Prevention Bill. The group is called The BiPartisan Task Force on Gun Violence and Children’s Safety.
As the name suggests this committee is made up of political representatives from both parties. 48 people divided into 3 groups discussing topics related to gun violence, school security and mental health.
The Task Force held hearings in Newtown in late January. You may remember these hearings as the ones where many people first met Insanemedia’s passionate friend Susan McGuinness-Getzinger.
The committee had been anxiously awaiting the release of the sealed Sandy Hook warrants so they could finish crafting their bill. Well…the warrants have been unsealed, the bill has been crafted and will be voted on tomorrow, Wednesday April 3/2013.
Since the assumption is this bill will pass and will be examined by other states considering similar legislation, I thought you might at least appreciate knowing what it contains.
I’ll give you the highlights but you can read the official summary of the various provisions in .pdf form at the following links.
Connecticut lawmakers announced a deal Monday on what they called some of the toughest gun laws in the country that were proposed after the December mass shooting at a school in Newtown.
Statements by Committee Members and a Q&A
The bill requires “universal background checks” for the sale of all firearms immediately, upon passage.
The bill significantly expands the Connecticut Assault Weapons Ban
Currently, Connecticut is one of only a handful of states with a state-level assault weapons ban. Under current law, an “assault weapon” is defined as one of 66 different specified firearms, or any other semiautomatic weapon that contains “two or more” of a list of physical characteristics.
Under the current bill, a) an additional list of more than 100 new specified weapons will be designated as banned assault weapons, in addition to all of the other weapons captured by the “physical characteristics” test. Also, that characteristics test is being amended to add some new banned military-style features, and also to require an assault weapon to have only one of the listed features in order to fall under the ban.
The bill immediately bans the sale or purchase of large capacity magazines, and imposes extremely stringent restrictions on the use of those currently possessed.
Immediate ban on sale, purchase or importation of LCMs: effective on passage, it will be a class D felony to sell, buy, transfer or import an LCM into the state (other than to turn it in or trade it in to law enforcement or a licensed gun dealer). Going forward, possession of any LCM not possessed as of the effective date will be a class D felony.
LCMs that are currently possessed must be registered with DESPP by January 1, 2014 to remain legal, and even when registered will be subject to extremely strict usage limitations. Possession of such magazines must be declared to DESPP by January 1, 2014. After January 1, 2014, any LCM that has not been the subject of such a declaration cannot be legally possessed under any circumstances (even if it had been possessed before the effective date).
The bill requires new state issued eligibility certificates for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition.
Long guns: The bill establishes a new revocable state-issued “long gun eligibility certificate”, which will require the applicant to undergo a firearms safety training course, be fingerprinted, and undergo a national criminal background and involuntary commitment /voluntary admission check.
The bill expands the scope of Connecticut’s firearms safe storage law
Under current law, the legal duty to securely store a firearm applies only when a person under 16 years of age is likely to gain access to the firearm, The bill significantly expands the scope of that duty
Executive Director of the CT Sportsmen Coalition Responds to Gun Violence Prevention Compromise
Establishes the School Safety Infrastructure Council which develops safety standards for school building projects.
Requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection in consultation with the Department of Education to develop school security and safety plan standards by January 1, 2014.
Requires that school security and safety plans be developed at each school.
Requires safe school climate committees established by the bullying law to investigate instances of disturbing and threatening behavior reported to it.
Higher Education Language
Requires the creation of threat assessment teams.
Requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education to study the creation of a police department for the community colleges.
The bill changes the status, with regard to the legal possession of firearms and permits therefor, of individuals who have been either involuntarily confined in or voluntarily admitted to a hospital for
persons with psychiatric disabilities, as defined in section 17a-495 of the general statutes.
Involuntary committals: under current law, an individual who has been involuntarily committed by order of the Probate Court to such a hospital within the previous 12 months can neither possess a firearm nor receive a permit or eligibility certificate. The bill expands that look back period to 60 months, for those receiving permits or eligibility certificates after the effective date.
Voluntary admissions: current law does not address voluntary admissions. Under the bill, an individual who has been so admitted will not be able to receive a permit or eligibility certificate for 6 months thereafter, nor will they be eligible to possess any firearm for those 6 months following their release from the hospital.
Governor Malloy on the Gun Violence Prevention Compromise
During Gov. Malloy’s Q&A he is asked a very good question about the logistics of this new legislation should it pass as expected.
Reporter: Assuming this passes on Wednesday, and we have all indication that it will pass, and you sign it Wednesday night or Thursaday, it becomes effective immediately. Is the State Police gonna be up and ready for all this paperwork for registering all these devices that fast?
Gov. Malloy: We’ll get up to speed as quickly as we can. We will strictly enforce this law. We will come up with appropriate regulations to enforce this law but I think it’s important that it go into effect as soon as possible.
Recent comments by Vice President Joe Biden suggest that should Connecticut’s bill pass as easily as many suspect it will a Federal version may not be far off.
“And lastly, but not least, the Assault Weapons ban and the limitation on the size of magazines, let me say this as clearly as I can: this is just the beginning.
We believe that weapons of war have no place on our streets. That’s the message that the retired admirals and generals have spoken to us about. The comment one of them used was: if you want to learn how to use a semi-automatic weapon, join the United States military, but these are weapons of war, and we believe there’s no rational reason why someone would need a clip that can hold fifteen, twenty, thirty, one-hundred bullets, one-hundred rounds. We have to do more and we will do more.”
It is distressing that a bill that was finalized on Monday could be signed into law by Wednesday. Such haste would assure the bare minimum of citizen input and comment on the final product.
Should you live in Connecticut and wish to make your voice heard in the hours you have left before the vote on this bill, you can find a list of governmental representatives and their contact information at the following link.
Flanked by family members of Newtown massacre victims and the legislative leaders who spent three months trying to respond to their tragedy, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Thursday signed a sweeping gun-control bill whose major components – including a strengthened assault weapons ban – took effect with the stroke of his pen.
Governor’s Signing of the Gun Violence Prevention Bill