Connecticut passes stricter gun laws following Sandy Hook massacre | News | DW | 04.04.2013
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Connecticut passes stricter gun laws following Sandy Hook massacre

Connecticut lawmakers have approved a new gun-control bill in response to December's school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead. The bill bans the sale of high-capacity gun clips, among other regulations.

Connecticut's House of Representatives voted 105-44 in favor of the bill early on Thursday morning, after nearly eight hours of debate.

The new legislation would require background checks for private gun sales, ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips and require current owners of those clips to register them with the state.

The legislation would also establish a $15 million (11.7 million euros) fund to help schools improve security infrastructure.

Owners of existing clips capable of holding 10 or more bullets would be required to register them with the state. As of Jan. 1, 2014, owning an unregistered high-capacity clip would become a felony offense.

The bill comes in response to the Dec. 14 shooting in which gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In the attack, Lanza used high-capacity ammunition clips firing off 154 rounds in less than five minutes, before turning a gun on himself.

Opponents of the bill argue that it infringes on the Second Amendment of the US constitution, the right to bear arms. The powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby maintains that more guns keep people safer and questions whether such legislation could have prevented an incident like the one in Newtown.

Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill into law on Thursday.

Obama campaigns for stricter gun control

The Sandy Hook massacre reignited a national debate on gun control, and US President Barack Obama has made gun safety one of the defining issues of his second term.

With his proposed gun control measures stalled in Congress, Obama is now turning to a different tactic.

On Wednesday, the president used a visit to Colorado to reiterate his call for background checks for people seeking to purchase weapons to be introduced nationwide.

Despite being a western, largely rural state with a strong gun ownership legacy, Colorado recently extended gun control laws after experiencing two of the worst mass shootings in US history, including one at a movie theater last year in which 12 people were killed.

The state has expanded background checks for gun buyers and placed restrictions on ammunition magazines.

hc/pfd (Reuters, AFP, AP)