By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, email@example.com
The Hartford Courant
9:39 PM EDT, March 18, 2013
The governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission on Monday called for some of the strongest gun control measures in the nation, including a ban on the sale or possession of any gun that can fire more than 10 bullets without reloading.
The ban would be among the most far-reaching in the United States and comes in direct reaction to the Newtown gunman's use of an assault rifle and 30-round magazines in the massacre of 20 children and six women three months ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"This prohibition would extend to military-style firearms as well as handguns," the commission's interim report says. "Law enforcement and military would be exempt from this ban."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement released by his office that he does not support a retroactive ban on legally owned firearms. In his statement, Malloy said the interim report, along with his own recommendations and those of the General Assembly, are a step toward finding solutions to gun violence.
The commission's chairman, Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, noted in a letter to Malloy that some of the 42 recommendations are controversial.
"I realize that you may agree with some of our interim recommendations and disagree with others,'' Jackson wrote in a letter attached to the report.
The recommendation to ban guns that can fire more than 10 bullets without reloading goes further than what Malloy has proposed, and the governor said during the committee's deliberations that he does not support "the confiscation of firearms by law-abiding citizens.''
Monday's interim report also calls for banning the sale, possession and use of any magazines that carry more than 10 bullets — a measure Malloy proposed last month. The only exceptions would be for law enforcement and military use.
Rep. Craig Miner, a Republican from Litchfield who co-chaired a gun subcommittee, had a strong reaction against the proposed magazine ban.
"It seems to me when someone starts to ban something from an individual who bought it lawfully, owned it lawfully and did nothing to lose that right and has to divest themselves of it in some way, it seems to me if it's not a taking, it's pretty doggone close,'' Miner said.
Miner, who said that he doesn't own any 10-round magazines, said it would be very difficult to collect magazines that had been purchased legally and later declared illegal.
The commission's recommendations are advisory to Malloy. Any changes in Connecticut's law must be approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate and then be signed into law by Malloy.
The commission's report was issued on the day that Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News reported that Newtown shooter Adam Lanza had planned the attack for years and had compiled a spreadsheet measuring 7 feet by 4 feet that included details of mass shootings around the world. Lupica said that his anonymous source was a high-ranking police officer who attended a recent conference in New Orleans in which the top uniformed commander of the Connecticut state police, Col. Danny Stebbins, delivered a detailed speech about the Newtown massacre.
The commission's interim report also calls for:
—Mandatory background checks at gun shows and any other place where firearms are sold, including so-called long guns.
— Banning the sale and possession of all armor-piercing bullets, punishable as a Class D felony.
— Mandating registration of all guns, in addition to requiring a permit to carry one.
— Requiring firearms permits to be renewed, including "a test of firearms handling capacity, as well as an understanding of applicable laws and regulations.''
— Limiting the amount of bullets that can be purchased at one time.
— Studying the best ways of prohibiting the sale of ammunition through the Internet.
— Mandating that the seller of a gun must also make a trigger lock available to the purchaser.
Currently, the state has about 1.4 million registered guns, and state police say there could be as many as 2 million more that are not registered.
The interim report did not mention any recommendations regarding mental health, which will be explored at a commission meeting Friday. Jackson noted that the commission will continue working "through the end of this year'' and will react to the Danbury state's attorney's report on the Newtown massacre that is expected in June.
Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, the highest-ranking senator, thanked the commissioners for their work and said, "Everything is on the table as negotiations between the legislative leaders continue.''
The commission's recommendations did not impress Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, which supports gun owners' rights. Wilson and his group have said that the gun control measures being proposed would do nothing to prevent another disturbed individual from doing what Lanza did, but only would infringe on the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.
Wilson said the interim report is an "over-reach, and it will do nothing to protect the children."
Malloy has proposed universal background checks, stricter requirements for storing firearms and restricting the size of magazines.
"I believe we can pass meaningful legislation that achieves common sense gun violence prevention measures and that we can do it in a way that many gun owners will agree with," he said in his statement Monday. "I am hopeful that we can come to an agreement soon. Our residents, who by all accounts support many of the proposals that we are considering, have waited long enough.''
Courant staff writer Jon Lender contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2015, The Hartford Courant