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Leadership, Rank-and-File Members OK Framework of Compromise on Gun Control

by | Apr 1, 2013 6:22pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Town News, Newtown, Public Safety, State Capitol

When rank-and-file lawmakers emerged from closed-door meetings at the Capitol on Monday, many weren’t entirely happy with the post-Newtown gun control legislation package they’d hammered out.

That’s the nature of a bipartisan bill — no one ever gets everything they want.

But one thing is certain — those same rank-and-file lawmakers said their proposal was the “most comprehensive” package of gun control legislation in the country.

“In Connecticut, we’ve broken the mold,” Sen. President Donald Williams said Monday at a press conference. “We just put together Democrats and Republicans in a bipartisan process on one of the most divisive issues in the United States.”

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, said some lawmakers were still making up their minds on the bill, but there was “no doubt” the legislation would pass both chambers on Wednesday. McKinney said there was strong support among Senate Republicans.

“I think we may be around 50 percent of our caucus,” he said.

Legislative leaders declined to say which side compromised on certain provisions during negotiations, but they all agreed they would be discouraging individual lawmakers from calling amendments during debate on the bill Wednesday.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey also said that this would be the last piece of gun-related legislation raised in this session. He said they may take up more mental health or school security issues this year, but debate over gun issues will end Wednesday.

Under Connecticut’s legislation, House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk said no one will lose their right to own a gun. However, going forward in order to purchase a firearm an individual will need a certificate and will need to pass a background check if they want to purchase ammunition. The bill adds about 100 more weapons to Connecticut’s assault weapons ban, which currently includes 66 models.

The legislation also bans the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines. The legislation allows residents who already own the magazines to keep them, so long as they register them with the State Police by Jan. 1, 2014. Under the bill, possession of an unregistered high-capacity magazine will be considered a Class D felony.

Click here to read the draft outline of the gun and mental health provisions and here for the school security portion of the bill

“If you value bipartisanship, I believe it’s the best possible bipartisan bill that you could get done,” Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, said of the draft legislation lawmakers reviewed Monday afternoon.

Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain, agreed.

“I think we generally have faith that this is the best deal that we’re going to be able to get if we’re going to pass something that’s bipartisan,” he said.

The prospective nature of the high-capacity magazine ban will come as a disappointment to families of Newtown victims who lobbied lawmakers Monday as they ducked into their respective caucuses.

Tercyak said he would have liked the bill to be “more assertive” in banning magazines that people already own. But he said he could live with the compromise of requiring people to register their magazines.

“Considering where so very many people started, this is a satisfying place to end up,” Tercyak said.

Holder-Winfield said he did not believe there will be any change in the prospective nature of the high-capacity magazine ban. Given that the bill is the product of negotiations between all four of the legislative caucuses, he said the legislation had to be written that way.

“I think with the process we had, a full ban might blow up the deal,” he said.

The high-capacity magazine ban also prohibits gun owners and sportsmen from carrying a magazine with more than 10 bullets outside their home or outside a shooting range. Newtown families told lawmakers it would be a difficult law to enforce.

“If you don’t declare it then you can’t own it,” said Rep. Ed Vargas, D-Hartford, explaining how law enforcement would deal with it.

The bill also increases the penalties for many firearm trafficking and illegal possession offenses and requires individuals who want to purchase a rifle to be 21 years old. It expands the “lookback” period for individuals who have been involuntarily confined or voluntarily admitted to a hospital for psychiatric disabilities.

The proposal already has some gun advocacy groups crying foul.

“It is ludicrous to expect people that have firearms capable of holding 15 rounds to only load 10 rounds inside of them,” Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said. “Do criminals really care about these laws?”

Holder-Winfield said he felt a number of proposals in the bill will help to reduce gun violence, including registration of all firearms and tougher penalties for trafficking weapons. Handgun deaths are more common in urban areas than deaths attributed to semi-automatic rifles like the one used by the gunman at Sandy Hook.

“I think those types of things are significant, and it’s understandable that people are upset about the fact that we don’t . . . deal with a full magazine ban,” Holder-Winfield said. “But when you look at those things, we have done something significant.”

Tercyak said the bill contains mental health provisions that would limit someone’s ability to acquire a gun if they have a history of psychiatric hospitalization.

“While many of us are not happy with everything there, there is a general consensus that we can live with it,” he said.

Tercyak said he thinks there may be an effort later in the legislative session to pass bills that make more changes to the state’s mental health system. Lawmakers had concerns about the ability of the state to pay for mental health provisions, he said.

“The budget’s still very fluid now, but there’s a commitment to have funding for what we’re proposing, that this won’t be separate from our final budget” he said.

Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven, said at the moment there’s no fiscal note attached to the bill even though the policies outlined indicate there’s a need for one.

“We are going to have to have a very long conversation about how this works into the budget,” Walker, who co-chairs the Appropriations Committee, said.

Rep. Stephen Dargan, D-West Haven, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said the legislation calls for long guns to be permitted and ammunition registered with the state, which will require more staff to do background checks.

“I think we need to talk about how much it will cost the state to implement and put forward,” Dargan said.

He estimated the number of people that the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection would need to hire would be between 16 to 18.

“There’s going to be a lot of money involved,” Dargan said.

The proposal also includes measures to improve school security and mental health care in the state.

It creates a task force to study Connecticut’s mental health system with a special focus on the 16- to 25-year-old population. The gunman in the incident was 20 years old and, according to various reports, suffered from some form of mental or emotional disorder. The bill also looks to expand coordinated support systems for those involved with the Probate Court system.

The outline of the bill also asks the state Insurance Department to evaluate and report on its method for determining compliance with state and federal mental health parity laws. It also contains several changes related to the Program Review and Investigations Committee report on commercial insurance, which often doesn’t cover many of the behavioral health or mental health treatment covered by public insurance like Medicaid.

The bill also expands the membership of the Board of Firearm Permit Examiners to seven to include a mental health professional and a retired Superior Court Judge.

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(30) Archived Comments

posted by: dano860 | April 1, 2013  7:00pm

A big bag-O-garbage!
We will have a tough time getting it done but most of us will stock up and reload.
They should have just looked north to Massachusetts and copied them. When was the last shooting by a mentally ill person there…never!
This is something else Dannel and the Do Nothing’s should look at….
Here in lies the real problem, unemployment…get them jobs, get them off the streets, quit giving them SNAP, EBT and rent subsidies. Enforce the existing firearms laws, get the true criminals.

posted by: Noteworthy | April 1, 2013  8:04pm

So the bi-partisan group came up with a bunch of new regulations including registration of all guns, and none of it would have prevented Newtown. And the one thing that would have precluded Newtown - mental health law changes - they’re going to study in a task force. How inspiring. But the real kicker, is this notion that it’s going to require a lot of money, and another 16-18 people. That’s just Bull.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 1, 2013  9:21pm

If they charge for the magazine registration they are going to have one heck of a Constitutional challenge I’m sure. Actually they’ll have one anyways and until this has gone through the courts I guess I will be a class D felon after 50 plus years residency in this state and being as law abiding as one can be. Yeah that makes me want to continue to live here. When my youngest is done with school in a few years I’m gone, and my wife and I do extremely well financially so the state can continue their handouts without confiscating my money any more.

posted by: redman | April 2, 2013  6:21am

My handguns and rifles are unregistered and they will stay that way.

posted by: ad_ebay | April 2, 2013  7:00am

How dare you try to “regulate” a CONSTITUTIONAL right that you SWORE to UPHOLD AND DEFEND!  THANK GOD you were NOT next to me in the military!  I CANNOT depend on you to watch my back!  WE CANNOT depend on you to watch our land! 
What next? Voter Capability Test?  How about Representative Capability Test!
Registration of property?  How about search of YOUR property!  Got at YOUR taxes in order?
Companies will MOVE out of this hostile climate.  Citizens…that YOU SWORE to represent…will LEAVE the state!  NO more taxes will come from them.  NO more property will be owned by them.  NO more perks for you. 

posted by: SaveCT | April 2, 2013  7:05am

Congrats to the legislature, Democrats and Republicans for having the guts to stand up to the NRA and their cranked up hysteria. It makes me proud to live in Connecticut. Maybe the US Senate and House can grow some and follow suit.

posted by: JH_1 | April 2, 2013  7:13am

Calling this bipartisan is a bunch of bull.  Not that I’m surprised as I’ve been saying time and time again, since this is an ultra liberal state, these laws are going to pass a vote. 

But don’t insult the constituants of this state and call this bipartisan. 

These will be the new laws and as a law abiding citizen, I’ll have to live with them.  I am a little worried about registering magazines though.  It’s not paranoid to think they could be confiscated.  Those that say that’ll never happen don’t know history.  Always remember…. if it happened before, it will happen again. 

The silver lining is that after most of these laws are implemented, maybe the shelves at the gun stores won’t be so empty anymore.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2013  7:13am

Stealing this from someone else. It’s so right on.

When the Army staff sergeant, stationed at a U.S. base in Kandahar, Afghanistan killed 16 people, mostly women and children, and then burned their bodies we didn’t blame his gun or magazine. We blamed his mental condition and all the psychotropic prescription medications he was taking. The same thing goes for Adam Lanza.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2013  7:24am

The state is done. Watch for the manufacturers to leave, watch alot of good people with good incomes leaving in greater numbers, and watch our taxes go up even more.

I want to hear how you register magazines. Oh wait, we have to pass the bill first to see what’s in it.

Any Republican that votes for this will stand zero chance of being elected Governor, which means 4 more years of Malloy spending our money to give it to Billionares. I won’t vote because my decision will no longer be about the long term health of CT or my community.

Seriously, the Republicans should have let the Dems own this and now 50% of them will go along.

Molon Labe

posted by: dano860 | April 2, 2013  7:50am

This is not about the NRA. They only have 4.5 million members and there are 87.5 million firearms owners (FBI estimate).
This is the precursor to confiscation. Registration = confiscation.
I have said it before, they are carrying out orders from Obama. This is the mandate from Obama prior to Dannel getting a job offer.
The question remains, ” Will these prevent or would they have prevented the tragedy in Newtown?”
At this point the answer is still ,“NO!”

posted by: JH_1 | April 2, 2013  8:02am

I disagree with SaveCT.

This is a very liberal state, practically 2-1 democratic.  The laws were going to pass regardless of what the NRA did.  So, the legislatures really didn’t stand up to anyone.

Having guts is going against popular public opinion and basing laws on facts not on emotions.  Our CT general assembly showed no guts.

Hats off to some of the big name US Senators that are showing the guts and basing thier acions on facts.

posted by: antman | April 2, 2013  8:03am

Not one mention of this kids doctors or the prescribed medications in any of these reports.. This state is manipulating the facts for its own protection, dysfunctional health care system, lobby money from health professionals. Guns are the peoples last problem in this state. The way the govt just tricked its own people is disgusting. We have a horrible economy, highest taxes, and a now communist democrat evil stronghold on its own people. The way this state prosecutes people is similar to the Salem witchcraft days. Kid gets in a fight at school….ruins his life publicly and so on right up to normal adults..
  The states answer to everything is incarcerate and medicate. The state is prob at fault civilly if you really look at the details. Maybe the state should regulate its doctors, prescriptions etc.

posted by: ASTANVET | April 2, 2013  8:21am

as a practical measure, i don’t know how they intend to implement this.  ex post facto laws are routinely thrown out by the courts - registration of magazines?  are they kidding… how does one even do that?  limit of purchases of firearms to one per year?  How do you put a regulation like that on the books, you will kill places like Cabella’s or Hoffmans - Tracking ammunition sales?  This is a hot mess… think of the manpower and money it will take to administer this nightmare -

posted by: jim1 | April 2, 2013  9:58am

First the law says 10 or more in the clip! What is the # of semi-auto guns that hold 9 or less, just a few. Does the state have the money to enforce the ban?? And last how do I reg. all my clips?  Go to the cops and say I have 200! Do they put ser. # on the clips? Do they come to my house and look to see if I have 200.  Better have a search warrant.

posted by: OutBackJack312 | April 2, 2013  10:02am


As anyone read the whole thing yet?  In order to by long guns (rifles and shotguns) for hunting we now need a certificate, safety course, and finger prints.  I hope they allow hunters to use their current safety courses and not take anything new.  Also, can you imagine all the ways they are going to charge for these certificates?  Watch, a tax on firearms already owned is next.

posted by: OutOfOutrage | April 2, 2013  10:11am


ASTANVET They have no intention of administering it. They know people are not going to register! The purpose is to paint people into a corner and require steps that they know current law abiding people will not take (like bigjoe) that’s how you turn a lawful citizen into a criminal.  You make everyone a criminal and you then get to pick an choose who and how you prosecute.  That’s the real power.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2013  10:27am

Matt, you’re right.

It’s all about that power. Yet, most of them forget that they work for us.

I now think that they probably think much of this bill will be declared unconstitutional or will just be unworkable.

By that time the news will barely cover it and the low informed people that the legislature is cowtowing too, will be on to their next feel good issue.

The sick thing is that none of this would have prevented Newtown or the next Newtown, or prevent straw purchases. If it did, I would seriously consider complying.

posted by: jim1 | April 2, 2013  10:43am

One last thing, it is ok to have these big clips in the house or on the range.  How do we get them there, have a cop take us. Hope not to get stoped. Or let them stay at the range?  But let see these clips are not reg. to the range owner.  I hell of a mess.  Well I think I will just get some more ammo for my S & W .460 mag and call it good Ha Ha.

posted by: ad_ebay | April 2, 2013  11:11am

How about a referendum?
They KNOW this will not pass the smell test with regular people.
Can’t WAIT for the courts to tell Danno how full of crap he IS!

What about a law against pompous politicians…oh wait…the Capitol would CLEAR OUT!

posted by: ad_ebay | April 2, 2013  11:15am

Hey SaveCT!
Want a safe environment with NO firearms, NO crime and NO issues with illegal aliens?  Try China/North Korea/Iran or Pre-WWII Germany!

posted by: jim1 | April 2, 2013  11:15am

OK Lets all move to Nelson, Ga. They just passed a bill to let every head of house have to have a gun and ammo {if they want} to protect the city. Sounds like the 2nd Amendment to me.

posted by: ASTANVET | April 2, 2013  11:57am

the easiest way to stop law abiding citizens now is to delay the permit process - allow permits to lapse and at the flick of the administrative switch you are no longer legal.  If your permit lapses, I wonder if that is probably cause for a search to see if you are now in violation of CT law?  is it 10 in the magazine? and one in the pipe?  so you can have 11 rounds?  It seems to me that this is gradualism again, and the root of all this is simple - either we should be a gun free state, or allow guns - why dance around it… this is again… a HOT MESS

posted by: ASTANVET | April 2, 2013  12:00pm

if you can have 20 or 30 rnd magazines at a range I wonder if they are going to hike up liability insurance on those ranges to make it prohibitive for them to operate under those conditions… this is how liberty dies… I never thought I would see it in the US.  Wow -

posted by: timelord | April 2, 2013  12:48pm

Lawrence Cafero is a traitor and has broken his oath of office.  A note to all legislators, especially Republicans, that vote in favor of this bill: we will not forget you on election day.  Enjoy your last term in office because this is the end.

posted by: Really? | April 2, 2013  12:50pm

Amidst all the debate and the comments about how this does nothing to change the circumstances of what actually happened or that these proposed laws would have impacted that horrible event I have heard virtually nothing about strengthening laws or adding laws about the safe storage of guns in the home or increasing penalties for those who don’t store them away from those who shouldn’t have them like the children/teens in the home.  That is what actually happened here and some increased deterrent might be worth discussing as part of a broader approach.  Let’s consider support for the responsible gun owner who takes care of and keeps their family safe and punish those who don’t.

posted by: anuddaCTresident | April 2, 2013  1:03pm

A sham, a travesty, a trampling of the Constitution of the State of CT and of the USA. 

None of these actions would have made a difference (except maybe the safte storage laws…if she’d followed them) in Newtown.

I am also not sure I see the point of crowing about bipartisanship when it results in a useless piece of legislation nobody is happy with.  That’s called failure in my mind.  Bipartisan comprimise is a euphimism for “just did something to look like we did something”.

Another little joke in the mix is that they will increase the age at which you can buy a semi-auto centerfire long gun to 21 years of age.  You can vote at 18, you can actually fight and die in a foreign land holding an Assault Weapon at 18, but you can’t buy semi auto center fire rifle at home until you are 21.

CT’s Republicans will cave to this mess in order to appease and try to hold on to their seats.  Good luck.  I’ll not vote for anyone who votes for this useless legislation.

I also don’t understand how people continue to say things like “stand up to the NRA” as if the NRA is a single entity….what the Legislature has done is not stand up to the NRA, but, rather, ignored the wishes of their constituents who ARE the NRA.

posted by: Barry bin Inhalin | April 2, 2013  1:09pm

Can’t wait to vote for any name that did not vote for this.  And I also can’t wait for the look on thier faces when it’s struck down as unConstitutional.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2013  1:36pm

I wonder how many people will be buying polygon bags and storing magazines in PVC pipes buried in their backyard. If they do they need to make sure the ends are secure and that they dont store the ammo in the magazine as it will damage the spring.

I will assume alot and the day that they dig those up would be because the court ruled it unconstitutional or the “blank” has hit the fan in this country.

posted by: Salmo | April 3, 2013  5:11pm

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Isaac Newton

posted by: Gmarecki | April 6, 2013  11:38am

” Handgun deaths are more common in urban areas than deaths attributed to semi-automatic rifles like the one used by the gunman at Sandy Hook.” Interesting comment by a ‘Lawmaker’, considering the fact that the gunman at Sandyhook did not actually USE a rifle (of any kind) at all. All they found in the school were handguns. There was a rifle

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