Lawmakers call for universal ban on certain assault weapons - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers call for universal ban on certain assault weapons

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Lawmakers are calling for a universal ban on certain assault weapons. (WFSB) Lawmakers are calling for a universal ban on certain assault weapons. (WFSB)

Since the Orlando massacre, gun sales and permits are expected to go up, which often happens after a mass shooting.

In Connecticut, state lawmakers banned assault weapons like AR-15s, which are used in many mass killings.

The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School changed many things, but it also brought about bi-partisan support to ban certain assault weapons.

Some feel Congress needs to act and pass a universal ban.

"This is a dramatic wakeup call. Here is one individual who was able to take the lives of 49 other individuals, and some in very serious condition. It's the definition of insanity,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

He said he feels the only way to reduce much of the country’s gun violence is to ban assault weapons.

That feeling is shared by the state’s congressional delegation, some of whom walked out of Congress during a moment of silence recently, frustrated with Congress’ failure to pass tougher gun laws, like universal background checks which most Americans support.

"The legislators here in Connecticut seem to go out in our best interest and call for more bans and background checks, when in reality people are going out in these incidents and buying more guns,” said Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League.

It is easy in many states to buy a gun.

A reporter at a Philadelphia newspaper said she was able to buy an AR-15 in 7 minutes.

In 2013, after the Sandy Hook shooting, Connecticut banned assault weapons like the AR-15, and large capacity magazines.

However, those who owned them at the time were able to keep them but had to register.

Channel 3 took a look at the top three AR-15 owners in the state. One person has 179, the second has 175 and the third has 138.

There is an even bigger number of people with large capacity magazines. The top owner has more than 500,000.

"These AR-15 type weapons are designed specifically to kill a lot of people very quickly...very accurately,” said Michael Lawlor, Under Secretary for Criminal Justice.

He said if more states had Connecticut’s laws, it would be harder to buy the assault weapons.

"If the federal government went back to the ban they had starting 1994, which expired in 2004, over time there would be a lot fewer of these things,” Lawlor said.

He said when it comes to an individual ownership, fewer people in Connecticut have guns, but those who do have them tend to have many.

On Tuesday, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin called on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons in the wake of the Orlando massacre.

“It should not be possible for an individual filled with hate to walk into a gun store and walk out with a military-style assault weapon,” Bronin said in a statement. "As a nation, we’ve seen tragedies mount as military-style assault weapons allow a sick and evil individual to inflict more pain than one individual should be capable of inflicting. Enough is enough.”

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