Federal judge upholds Connecticut gun control law

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Connecticut [official website] on Thursday upheld [ruling, PDF] the constitutionality of the state's new gun control law [text, PDF], while still acknowledging the Second Amendment [Cornell LII backgrounder] rights of gun owners. The new law, enacted in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, expanded a previous ban on assault weapons and introduced a prohibition on high-capacity ammunition magazines. In his opinion, Judge Alfred Covello stated that, as the law does not completely prohibit use of all firearms, he is "reasonably certain the prohibitions do not impose a substantial burden" upon the protection guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The case was brought by group of Connecticut organizations that advocate for strong gun rights. These groups have already stated their intent to appeal the decision. 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."

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. Last month the US District Court for the District of Connecticut dismissed [JURIST report] a challenge to the law that was brought by the Connecticut-based firearms trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Last 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.

 

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