CT lawmakers, gun advocates comment on SCOTUS decision to leave - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT lawmakers, gun advocates comment on SCOTUS decision to leave state assault weapons bans in place

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The Supreme Court has rejected challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York. (MGN photo) The Supreme Court has rejected challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York. (MGN photo)

Connecticut lawmakers and local gun advocates commented on the United States Supreme Court's decision to not to consider a challenge of the state's law banning assault weapons. 

The Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League along with other plaintiffs challenged Connecticut’s ban on certain semi-automatic firearms in 2013. The decision came after "a lower court’s ruling refusing to strike down on Second Amendment grounds," CCDL said. 

CCDL President Scott Wilson said firearms included on Connecticut's banned list "are very rarely used by criminals." Wilson added that "only things that distinguish them from non-banned firearms are external features such as thumbhole stocks and pistol grips that promote safe and accurate use."

"The firearms the State has chosen to ban are very frequently used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes such as home-defense, hunting, and target shooting. In fact, one of the banned firearms, the AR-15, is the best-selling rifle in the United States," Wilson said in a statement on Monday. 

Wilson went on to say that he hoped that the United States Supreme Court would "step in and reaffirm that the Second Amendment is not a 'second-class' right."

 "The lower court’s decision in this case was particularly indefensible, as the unconstitutionality of Connecticut’s ban follows directly from the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Heller. Mr. Wilson suggested that the Court’s decision to decline review may have been influenced by the recent, unfortunate death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the author if the Heller decision," the CCDL said in a statement on Monday. 

However, the fight is not over for the CCDL. 

“We fully intend to renew our challenge to Connecticut’s blatantly unconstitutional ban as soon as there are five Justices sitting on the Supreme Court committed to the proper understanding of the Second Amendment," Wilson said. 

However, lawmakers for Connecticut including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said they were pleased the SCOTUS' decision. Blumenthal said that the decision "allowed Connecticut’s commonsense restrictions on dangerous weapons of war to remain in place."

"This decision supports my conviction that Connecticut is right on the law: the right to bear arms does not rescind or remove our obligation to keep our citizens safe. Connecticut stands with states across the country that have implemented similar gun violence prevention measures," Blumenthal said in a statement on Monday. 

Blumenthal said he was "glad the Court has declined to disturb the thoughtful judicial reasoning that has validated our efforts to prevent future tragedies." 

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said SCOTUS decision "isn't a surprise, but it's still very important."

"It reaffirms what we know is true—that commonsense limitations on weapons of war do not infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners. Connecticut has led the country with our gun safety laws, and now more than ever we should be seen as a model for Congress when it comes to how best to help keep our communities safe from gun violence," Murphy said in a statement on Monday. 

Murphy, who filibustered for almost 15 hours to get a Republican response to gun control measures, said "military-style assault weapons have no place in our schools or on our streets." 

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he "appreciated" the actions of the United States Supreme Court. 

"During tragic times, we acted. When we saw wrong, we did what was right. After enduring a moment as a state that shook our collective conscience and jolted the soul, we banded together and stood up for common sense," Malloy said in a statement on Monday. 

Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Malloy said the state "passed one of the toughest, one of the smartest gun laws" and the decision by the United States Supreme Court showed that "common sense has prevailed."

“We appreciate the Supreme Court’s action today. It should be a demonstration to states across the nation that commonsense gun laws not only work, they are Constitutional.  We must stand up against mass shootings. We cannot sit idly by and watch tragedy after tragedy, horror after horror. We have the ability to act – the question is whether or not elected officials have the will," Malloy said. 

Malloy went onto say that the Connecticut residents are "safer" because of the state's gun laws. 

"I thank the Supreme Court for recognizing that states can be smarter about how we sell guns and what kinds of guns we sell, and that those commonsense steps do not infringe on Constitutional rights.  Now, it is incumbent upon Congress to do what’s right and follow Connecticut’s lead in embracing basic steps regarding guns – like universal background checks – that the vast majority of Americans support," Malloy said. 

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said she was "proud" that Connecticut passed "some of the strongest gun laws in the nation." She called the laws, ones that "have wide support among our residents, and that have withstood legal challenge."

"Connecticut stood up for our residents, and it’s time for Congress to stand up for the American people.  I applaud the Supreme Court for their action today," Wyman said in a statement on Monday. 

Attorney General George Jepsen said "sensible gun safety legislation works." Jepsen added that Supreme Court’s actions "affirms that the reforms enacted in Connecticut following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School were reasonable, sensible and lawful." 

"States like Connecticut have shown that – despite the unwillingness of Congress to take the necessary steps to address the serious problem of gun violence in our country – we will take strong and decisive action that makes progress in keeping guns out of the hands of those who seek to commit acts of violence without infringing on the rights of sportsmen and those who seek to keep guns for personal protection. In Connecticut – whether it's defending our current laws from legal challenge or enacting new measures to help protect our most vulnerable citizens from gun violence – we will continue to work to the best of our abilities to address gun violence," Jepsen said in a statement on Monday. 

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