Connecticut governor signs new gun control law

(By Deutsche Welle) Nearly four months after the Newtown school shooting, Connecticut has passed one of the toughest gun laws in the United States. But few think the state’s law will become a model for the rest of the country.

The bill, a response to the December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown which took the lives of 20 young children and six teachers, has passed in the state of Connecticut. Gun advocates protested heavily against the strict legislation, but Connecticut’s Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy went ahead and signed the law at a ceremony on Thursday (04.04.2013), several hours after it was approved by the General Assembly.

The measures extend the state’s assault weapons ban to an additional 100 firearms, ban the sale of high-capacity magazines and would impose immediate universal background checks on all firearms sales.

In addition, anyone who wants to purchase a rifle, shotgun or ammunition would have to obtain a certificate by being fingerprinted and taking a firearms course among other requirements.

“This is a message that should resound in 49 other states and in Washington, D.C.,” said Connecticut Senate President Donald E. Williams. “And the message is: We can get it done here and they should get it done in their respective states and nationally in Congress.”

Lawmakers approved the bill by a vote of 105-44 in the state House of Representatives and 26-10 in the Senate.

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NRA comes out fighting

(By Deutsche Welle) In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, the White House and the NRA are set for a bitter confrontation over gun control. Although the NRA wields considerable influence, gun control initiatives are gaining momentum.

A meeting between US Vice President Joe Biden and America’s most powerful gun lobby group ended in recrimination on Thursday, with the National Rifle Association (NRA) accusing the Obama administration of seeking to impose restrictions on lawful firearms owners.

“We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment,” the NRA said in a release, referring to the constitutional provision that guarantees Americans the right to bear arms.

The White House has called for a gun policy review in the aftermath of the December 14th massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 young children and six adults were shot dead. Earlier in the week, Biden said that President Obama may issue an executive order to tighten gun restrictions should Congress fail to act on its own.

Although Biden hinted that the Obama administration was considering universal background checks and limitations on high-capacity magazines, new regulations would have to survive a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the opposition of the NRA. Well-funded and with some 4 million members nationwide, the NRA is widely considered to be one of the most powerful lobby groups in the United States.

“The NRA has a great aura and a great mystique,” Kristin Goss, an expert on gun policy at Duke University, told DW. “I think there is a very open question whether some of this aura is exaggerated. There’s no question that Congress fears the NRA.”

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