April 3, 2013 / 4:59 PM / in 5 years

Connecticut lawmakers vote for post-Newtown gun law

HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - The Connecticut Senate voted on Wednesday to approve a new gun-control bill that supporters described as one of the toughest in the United States and a response to last December’s shooting at a school in Newtown that left 20 children and six adults dead.

The House started debating the bill on Wednesday evening, following the 26-10 vote in the Senate. If the House approves the bill, Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat who pushed for passage of the law, was expected to sign it on Thursday.

Opponents said the bill infringed the rights to gun ownership protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The new law would require background checks for private gun sales, ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips of the kind used at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and require current owners of those large clips to register them with the state.

The legislation was proposed after the December 14 attack, in which a gunman used clips that held 30 bullets to fire off 154 rounds in less than five minutes.

Under the legislation, owners of existing clips capable of holding 10 or more bullets would be required to register them with the state. Owning an unregistered high-capacity clip would become a felony offense as of January 1, 2014.

Both chambers in Connecticut’s legislature are controlled by Democrats, with 99 Democrats and 52 Republicans in the House, and 22 Democrats and 14 Republicans in the Senate.

The measure would also expand the number of weapons covered by Connecticut’s assault weapons ban and establishes a $15 million fund to help schools improve security infrastructure.

Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool

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