Connecticut Legislators Take a Breather on Passing More Gun Laws

by Vern Evans
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One year after enacting significant enhancements to its gun control laws, Connecticut legislators appear to have shifted away from pursuing further restrictive measures on firearms during this year’s budget session, according to legislative leaders CT Insider is reporting.

State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the Connecticut Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, indicated that the focus this session will not be on major gun legislation. This decision comes despite Connecticut’s history of stringent gun control measures, particularly following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The only significant gun-related bill moved forward this session, H.B. 5467, addresses technical adjustments to align state law with the 2022 updates to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This measure, which garnered bipartisan support, is pending further action in the House.

Another proposal under consideration, H.B. 5448, aims to criminalize the possession of a firearm within 250 feet of a polling place. It also seeks to safeguard the personal information of election workers. Additionally, a healthcare bill, S.B. 1, includes a mandate for physicians to provide patients with firearm safety materials.

“These pieces of legislation align with our need to adapt to technological advancements and address immediate safety concerns without overhauling our existing framework,” Stafstrom told CT Insider.

Despite the state’s rigorous laws, including a ban on military-style rifles since 1993 and multiple expansions to include various firearms and accessories, there is ongoing debate about the effectiveness and reach of such measures. Critics argue that these laws infringe on Second Amendment rights and predict that legislators will continue to push for stricter regulations.

Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) based in Shelton, expressed concern over the continuous drive for more restrictive laws in Connecticut. He noted potential future efforts might mirror those in other states, such as recent proposals in Colorado to monitor gun sales through merchant category codes.

Looking ahead, Stafstrom expressed interest in innovative technologies like microstamping, which could enhance law enforcement’s ability to link spent bullet casings to the guns that fired them. While similar mandates have faced implementation delays in states like New York and New Jersey due to technological and feasibility concerns, Connecticut may consider such legislation once the technology proves viable.

Meanwhile, Connecticut continues to allocate significant resources to gun violence prevention, with CT Against Gun Violence focusing on securing $3.9 million in the state budget for related grants.

“Even though last year was a big year, maintaining funding is crucial for ongoing prevention efforts,” said Melissa Kane, interim executive director of the group.

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