Connecticut has enacted new measures for gun control that took effect on Sunday, marking the first time since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2013 that the state has passed such changes.
Proponents of the legislation say that more is going to come in the future, even as legal challenges are happening across the U.S.
Ned Lamont, the Democratic governor of Connecticut, signed the bill into law back in June, but it went into effect on October 1.
Under the new law, all open carrying of any firearm is illegal. In addition, no one can purchase more than three handguns in a 30-day period, although there are some small exceptions for people such as instructors.
One group that is in favor of the legislation is Connecticut Against Gun Violence. The group’s executive director, Jeremy Stein, said recently:
“We will not take a break and we cannot stop now, and we will continue to pass life-saving laws until we end gun violence in Connecticut. Our lives depend on it.”
Supporters of gun rights immediately challenged the state’s new law in court once it was passed. Also at stake in court is the state’s gun law that was passed in 2013 in response to the Sandy Hook school shooting that happened the year before that resulted in 26 people being killed.
On Saturday, about 150 people who are pro gun rights rallied outside Connecticut’s state Capitol building. It was a symbolic rally in many ways, as it was the last day where it was legal for people to carry a firearm visibly in the state.
The people who attended the rally are still holding out hope that the new law eventually will be overturned through the court system.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League’s president, Holly Sullivan, told a local news outlet:
“It is not common in Connecticut to go to the grocery store and see somebody with an exposed firearm. Does it happen on rare occasions? Sure, but it is not a problem in our state.”
Sullivan added that the state already has laws in place that address the illegal carrying of weapons in public.
In addition to the measures above, Connecticut’s new law includes measures that would increase the amount of bail while also toughening parole and probation for a small group of people who are considered to be repeat offenders of serious gun laws. It will also expand the ban on assault weapons in the state, increases the penalties for possessing a large-capacity magazine, and adds some crimes related to domestic violence that would disqualify someone from being able to own or possess a gun.
Republicans in the state accused the Democratic majority of saying that Connecticut is so safe because of the state’s tough gun laws. Yet, the GOP members say that the state experiences serious crime issues, too.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, for instance, said calling Connecticut one of the country’s safest states is a “slap in the face” to all residents. In a statement, he said:
“Enough with the news conferences. Democrats should step away from the lectern and tap into what’s happening in their districts.”