Federal judge dismisses Connecticut gun control lawsuit

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Connecticut [official website] on Monday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a lawsuit challenging Connecticut's new gun-control law [text, PDF], enacted in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. The lawsuit was brought [AP report] by the Connecticut-based firearms trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) [advocacy website]. The ruling held that NSSF had no legal grounds to challenge the method of the law's approval. The NSSF contended the law's approval as "emergency legislation" was illegal because it was approved without proper input from the public, adequate review by lawmakers and a sufficient explanation of why the normal legislative process needed to be circumvented. The court noted that although NSSF members may have suffered financial harm, there was no "logical nexus" between the harm and the legislation and that identical harm would likely have occurred regardless of the method of its approval. The NSSF is reportedly considering whether to appeal the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen [official website] has reportedly declared that the state will continue to defend the law, stating that the measures approving the law were "entirely appropriate and lawful." The law expanded a previous ban on assault weapons and introduced a prohibition on high-capacity ammunition magazines. It still faces additional lawsuits from other gun advocacy groups.

Several states have enacted new gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, many of which have also faced challenges and lawsuits from advocacy groups. In January New York enacted [JURIST report] a law aimed at restricting gun and ammunition sales, and the National Rifle Association denounced the new law and indicated at the time that it would pursue legal challenges. Connecticut's new measure was signed [JURIST report] into law in April, and is considered one of the most far-reaching gun-control laws in the country. The law added over 100 new weapons to the list of banned assault firearms and creates the nation's first database of dangerous weapon offenders. A day later Maryland also enacted [JURIST report] a new firearms law, imposing stricter requirements to obtain a license for certain types of firearms. In May Colorado County Sheriffs filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit against their state's two new gun-control laws, also enacted early in 2013. Those laws also included magazine capacity limits and increased scrutiny over those purchasing firearms.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.