Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed a comprehensive gun control bill on Tuesday, prompting a swift response from gun rights advocates who have filed a lawsuit challenging the new law, Your Content has learned.
The bill, hailed as the most expansive state gun control legislation since the 2013 law enacted after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, faces legal scrutiny over its ban on open carrying and other provisions.
Connecticut’s gun laws have long been among the strictest in the nation, and this latest legal battle comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to expand gun rights, leading to challenges against various states’ regulations.
Notably, the 2013 gun law, along with others, is currently being contested in court.
Governor Lamont, a Democrat, expressed his support for the bill, stating, “This bill that I just signed takes smart and strategic steps to strengthen the laws in Connecticut to prevent tragedy from happening.
The inaction of Congress on critical legislation to keep Americans safe requires each state to act individually.”
We the Patriots USA, an Idaho-based group advocating for gun rights, filed the lawsuit in federal court, joined by other plaintiffs, with the aim of blocking the new law.
Norm Pattis, the group’s lawyer, emphasized the constitutional right to bear arms, stating, “Individuals have a right to bear arms under both the state and federal constitutions… In an era of defunding police, permissive bail reform, and liberal clemency, folks depend on the right to self-defense more than ever.”
The bill, which gained final approval from the Connecticut Senate last week, encompasses various measures.
In addition to the ban on open carrying, it includes provisions to increase bail and strengthen probation and parole for individuals with repeated serious gun offenses. The law also restricts the sale of more than three handguns within a 30-day period, with exceptions for instructors and certain cases.
Furthermore, the legislation expands the state’s existing assault weapon ban to cover similar weapons, imposes stricter penalties for possessing large-capacity magazines, broadens safe-storage regulations, and adds certain domestic violence crimes to the list of disqualifications for firearm ownership.
It also prohibits retail sales of specific semiautomatic rifles to individuals under 21 and enforces harsher penalties for gun dealers violating state law.
Opposition to the bill primarily comes from Republican lawmakers, who argue that it unfairly targets law-abiding gun owners rather than focusing on criminals responsible for gun violence.
Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers, who hold the majority in both chambers of the legislature, supported the legislation. The 2013 law, enacted after the devastating Sandy Hook shooting, banned over 100 firearms, limited ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, and established a dangerous weapon offender registry.
Another lawsuit currently challenges the validity of that law, according to AP News.