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Sandy Hook Advisory Commission sends recommendations to governor

By Johanna Somers

Publication: theday.com

Published March 18. 2013 1:00PM   Updated March 18. 2013 2:05PM

The governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission sent its recommendations to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday. Some of its recommendations go further than the legislature's or the governor's proposals.

The commission said it wants Connecticut to look at "prohibiting the possession, sale or transfer of any firearm capable of firing more than 10 rounds without reloading." This would mean military-style firearms and handguns capable of firing more than 10 rounds without reloading would be included in the assault weapons ban.

"It is the consensus of the Commission that gun violence is an issue that goes far beyond the tragedy at Sandy Hook, and the commonality of high-capacity firearms in violent crimes must be acknowledged," according to the commission's report.

The commission found that the current definition of an "assault weapon" only deals with cosmetic changes, for example the amount of military-style characteristics, as opposed to defining an assault weapon by its lethality.
Of the 94 firearm-related murders in

Connecticut, only one was due to a rifle and one was due to a shotgun, according to the FBI's 2011 Uniform Crime Reports.
Malloy said he does not agree with the commission's recommendation in this area.

"While I do not advocate a retroactive ban on the possession of firearms that are legally owned under current law, there are residents of our state who support such measures, and their views … have a place in this conversation," Malloy said in a press release on Monday.

This means Malloy would be in favor of grandfathering weapons added to the assault weapons ban.

His opinion is similar to that of the Democrats of the legislature's Gun Violence Prevent Working Group. They have recommended that weapons added to the assault weapons ban, which are in legal possession as of Jan. 14, 2014 continue to be possessed, but that owners be required to apply for a certificate of possession from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

The commission's recommendation on high-capacity magazines was more in line with the Democrats of the working group and with Malloy's proposals.

The commission recommended instituting a ban on the sale, possession and use of any magazine or ammunition-feeding device that has more than 10 rounds.

In response to sportsmen who might be concerned about competing in certain sporting events, the commission said, "the spirit of sportsmanship can be maintained with lower capacity magazines."

The governor has also proposed banning the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Last week at The Day's editorial board meeting Malloy said he also did not want to grandfather magazines with more than 10 rounds.

"We are not going to grandfather magazines for assault weapons so I think the better way to do that would be to give people the time to get a new magazine," Malloy said.

He said after speaking with people at gun shops he understood an old magazine could be filled or plugged to only receive 10 rounds.

"It is an issue that can be worked out legislatively," he said.
The Democrats of the working group have also recommended banning the sale of any magazine, belt, drum, feeding strip or similar device that has the capacity of accepting more than 10 rounds of ammunition. They have also proposed banning the possession of such ammunition and devices as of Oct. 1, 2013.
The commission also wants there to be more uniformity for gun registration and permitting.

"The Commission has found that firearms of significant lethality can be legally obtained without permit and without registration," according to the report.

The commission is recommending that there be mandatory background checks for the sale or transfer of any firearm during a private sale or at a gun show. This would include long guns.
The state should also consider requiring the registration of any firearm, according to the report. The certificate of registration would be issued after a completed background check. A certificate of registration is also different from a permit to carry, according to the report.

The commission also recommended requiring renewal of firearm permits on a regular basis.

Some of the recommendations the committee made on school safety included requiring all K-12 classrooms have locking doors and hardware capable of implementing a full perimeter lockdown.

Connecticut should also consider creating an "all-hazards threat and risk assessment security recommendations" tool and an "emergency response plan."

The plan could provide a common planning and assessment baseline for all schools. The assessment tool could provide a way to identify protective building designs, according to the report.

The commission will address mental health services in the coming months, according to the report.

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