April 4, 2013

Conn. governor signs sweeping gun restrictions into law

Susan Haigh / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Gun rights advocates who greatly outnumbered gun control supporters in demonstrations held earlier in the day at the Capitol railed against the proposals as misguided and unconstitutional, occasionally chanting "No! No! No!" and "Read the bill!"

"We want them to write laws that are sensible," said Ron Pariseau, of Pomfret, who was angry he'll be made a felon if he doesn't register his weapons that will no longer be sold in Connecticut. "What they're proposing will not stop anything."

By the time the Senate voted around 6:30 p.m., many of the gun rights advocates had gone home, leaving behind proponents of the bill who applauded when the tally in the Senate was read. The halls were mostly empty by the time the House voted at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

In the legislature, leaders waited to unveil gun legislation until they struck a bipartisan deal that they say shows how the parties can work together in Connecticut and elsewhere. They touted the package as a comprehensive response to Newtown that also addresses mental health and school security measures, including the creation of a new council to establish school safety standards and the expansion of circumstances when someone's mental history disqualifies him or her from obtaining a gun permit or other gun credentials.

"We did our job. We did it together," said House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr. "We did the best we could and I think we did a good thing."

Among the gun control advocates who turned out to witness the vote were Dan and Lauren Garrett, of Hamden, wearing green shirts in honor of the Sandy Hook victims. The Garretts traveled to Hartford with their 10-month-old son, Robert, to watch the bill's passage. They said they hope lawmakers will build on the proposal.

"It's just the beginning of this bill. In six months from now, it's going to get stronger and stronger," Dan Garrett said. "I think they're watching us all over the country."

 

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