FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Dozens of rifles and pistols that were legal in Connecticut Thursday morning are now considered banned assault weapons. Early Thursday afternoon, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a comprehensive gun control bill into law in response to the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.
As soon as Malloy signed the legislation, a long list of firearms immediately became illegal. Large capacity ammunition clips that hold more than 10 bullets were also immediately banned, making them now illegal to sell or purchase.
“We can never undo the senseless tragedy that took place on Dec. 14 or those tragedies that play themselves out on a daily basis in our cities, but we can take action here in Connecticut and make our towns and cities safer, and this bill does that,” Malloy said at the bill-signing ceremony in Hartford.
“Through our efforts today, we honor those we lost and those we have worked to help to mend in the grieving process.”
Residents who already own large-capacity magazine clips or firearms now considered assault weapons will not be required to relinquish these items. Instead, they will be required to register these items with the state by Jan. 1.
The law also requires universal background checks be performed for all firearm purchases.
Beginning July 1, certificates of eligibility will be required to buy ammunition. To receive a certificate, residents will need to pass a federal background check. Certificates will also be required to purchase shotguns and rifles.
The law also requires that a deadly weapon offender registry be created by Jan. 1. This registry, to be maintained by the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, will include people who have been convicted of an offense committed with a deadly weapon or those found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in such cases.
The law also broadens the mental health provisions that disqualify a person for a gun permit or handgun eligibility certificate.
In addition to a number of firearm provisions, the law includes several mental health and school security provisions. In regard to school safety, a School Safety Infrastructure Council will be established to develop school building safety standards. Also, all school districts in the state will be required to have security plans and safety committees for each school.
With regard to mental health, training programs to help educators better identify the warning signs of mental illnesses in children and adults will be created.
“This is a profoundly emotional day, I think, for everyone in this room and everyone watching what is transpiring here,” Malloy said. “We have come together in a way that relatively few places in our nation have demonstrated an ability to do. I hope this is an example to the rest of the nation, certainly to our leaders in Washington.”
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