Connecticut governor poised to sign state's most sweeping gun measure since post-Sandy Hook laws

FILE - A makeshift memorial with crosses for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre stands outside a home on the first anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2013. Connecticut lawmakers on Thursday, May 25, 2023, were considering the most wide-ranging package of gun safety measures since the legislation passed after the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre, with proponents noting the state is not “recklessly retreating” from regulating guns like other states. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A slate of gun control measures was headed Saturday to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk, after an all-night state Senate debate and early morning vote to approve the state’s most wide-ranging gun legislation since the laws that followed the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

Lamont, a Democrat, plans to sign the measure. He said in a statement that the legislation would “modernize our firearm safety laws in a smart and strategic way to help prevent tragedy from happening.”

Among other things, the changes would ban openly carrying firearms and prohibit selling more than three handguns within 30 days to any one person, with some exceptions for instructors and others.

Other provisions include expanding Connecticut’s current assault weapon ban to include some other similar weapons; stiffening penalties for possession of large-capacity magazines; expanding safe-storage rules to more settings; and adding some domestic violence crimes to the list of disqualifications for having a gun.

The measure passed the Senate 24-11, following a 96-51 House vote last week. Democrats control both chambers.

The measure comes as mass killings occur at a record pace in the United States.

Nearly half the states have passed legislation addressing guns or school safety this year, but the measures differ sharply depending on legislatures’ partisan makeup.

Democratic-led states have enacted new laws to restrict semiautomatic weapons and expand background checks and waiting periods to buy guns. Republican-controlled states have backed the right to carry concealed guns without permits or for trained staffers to bring guns to school.

In Connecticut, Republican lawmakers have complained that majority Democrats are punishing law-abiding gun owners, not targeting criminals who commit gun violence.

Lamont, however, maintained that “the overwhelming majority of Connecticut residents” supports the changes.

“They want to live in a community that has common-sense measures that encourage gun safety and prevent harm from impacting our neighborhoods and homes,” he said.