Democrat Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced more gun control proposals including an expansion of the state’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” to include rimfire rifles, and he is already drawing opposition from Republican lawmakers.
According to WABC News, House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora quickly took issue with Lamont’s agenda.
“Today the Governor and Democrats pitched a familiar path to an ‘everybody problem’ by offering proposals that will again have law-abiding gun owners carrying most of the freight,” Candelora reportedly said. “Missing from their news conference was any talk about focusing on the people who are squarely responsible for causing mayhem in our communities.”
Another Republican—House Judiciary ranking member Rep. Craig Fishbein—who told WABC, “If enacted, these new proposals will do more to harass and restrict law-abiding citizens from exercising their Constitutional Rights, and little to curb the increased violent crime sweeping through our state.”
Lamont’s focus on rimfire semi-autos, which are described in a news release as “typically used for hunting but are sometimes customized into assault-weapon-style rifles to evade bans like those that have been implemented in Connecticut,” is sure to raise hackles.
This would almost certainly apply to the popular Ruger 10/22, perhaps the most customized semi-auto rimfire rifle in the country. For decades, a literal cottage industry has developed around the .22-caliber self-loader, to include such things as synthetic replacement stocks, magazines that hold up to 25 cartridges and replacement barrels.
According to the Lamont news release, “The proposals will be included as part of the governor’s package of priorities for the 2023 legislative session that he will present to the Connecticut General Assembly in February. He announced the first set of gun violence prevention proposals, which are focused on eliminating community gun violence, earlier this week. A third set will be announced in the coming days.”
Lamont alleged firearms manufacturers—some of whom are headquartered in his state—“are manufacturing guns that have the sole purpose of killing the largest number of humans within the shortest amount of time.”
The Democrat governor insisted “we are not talking about guns that have been created for hunting or protection, but rather the focus here is on assault weapons that are being created for mass human casualty.”
Newtown, Conn., was the site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012. The crime was committed by a disturbed individual who murdered his own mother to access her legally-purchased and safely stored firearms. As police approached the school building, the killer took his own life.
Lamont’s Thursday package includes
- Closing loopholes in the state’s assault weapons ban;
- Strengthening penalties related to the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines to make that ban enforceable; and
- Increasing the age to purchase all firearms to 21.
The next batch of gun control proposals will be announced within a few days. In addition to adding restrictions on semiautomatic rimfire rifles, Lamont’s eyes are on expand the assault weapons ban to include the following, as detailed in his news release:
- Pre-September 13, 1994 firearms: This category is frequently referred to as pre-ban weapons because they refer to the group of assault weapons that have been grandfathered in under Connecticut’s 1994 assault weapons ban. Pre-ban weapons include AR-style rifles and are legal to be sold, possessed, and carried into the state whether or not they have forward pistol grips, flash suppressors, barrel shrouds, or other features that were banned under the 2013 law. Gun dealers in other states are known to collect pre-ban weapons and ship them to Connecticut for sale at high prices.
- So-called “other” weapons: This category includes those assault weapons in which manufacturers have made attempts to evade the 2013 law through a technical loophole. The 2013 law regulates only pistols, rifles, and shotguns. These are categories that are defined under Connecticut law and do not include all weapons. Several manufacturers are selling weapons specifically designed to fall into this loophole by having a barrel length longer than 12 inches to avoid classification as a pistol and a so-called “pistol brace” on the back to avoid classification as a rifle.