By STEPHEN SINGER, Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday he’s being patient as the legislature tries to hammer out a bipartisan gun control package, but added that the public wants lawmakers to act now.
As more than 200 gun control advocates arrived at the Capitol to lobby legislators, Malloy said he understands the slow pace of legislative action.
“I have to put down budgets and in the legislative process there are built-in months and months and months of waiting,” he said. “Do I think the people of Connecticut have waited long enough? The answer is yes.”
Advocates from CT Against Gun Violence visited the Capitol to meet with legislators two days after gun-rights advocates made the rounds. The group is pushing for rules that parallel Malloy’s own proposal released last month: a ban on military-style assault weapons that are listed by model name or are semi-automatic weapons that can hold detachable magazines. Those who now have weapons that would be banned would be required to register the weapons by Oct. 1.
The group also is seeking a ban on large-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Sen. Donald Williams, president pro tem of the Senate, said the legislative process is “not usually effective” in being quick. He said a vote is possible next week.
“Whatever legislation we’ll have, this has been a very thorough process where all voices were heard,” he said.
The governor defended a proposal that would ban the sale and purchase of semi-automatic weapons that have at least one military feature while allowing their sale outside Connecticut.
“I don’t think it’s hypocrisy,” he said. “These products can be sold in other states. We don’t want to limit the ability of manufacturers who have long histories in our state to continue in this state.”
Jake McGuigan, director of government relations for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry group, said in Malloy’s plan, gun manufacturers in Connecticut would pay state and local taxes but company executives would not be able to own some of their own products.
“I don’t see how the governor can say it’s not hypocritical,” he said.
Bette Casazza of Wilton was among those who came to the Capitol to meet with legislators. It was her first lobbying venture, she said, motivated by a friend who is a teacher in Newtown.
“I wasn’t able to meet with my representative, but it gives you a sense of your government in action,” she said.
Luisa Francoeur of Westport has lobbied the legislature on mental health issues as the Westport representative to the Southwest Regional Health Board. She said guns are too easy to get.
“It’s not a mental health issue,” she said. “It’s the prevalence of guns, assault weapons, magazines.”
Thursday marks three months since the shooting deaths of 20 children and six educators at a Newtown school.
Gun control advocates began running a radio ad Wednesday demanding the “most effective laws in the country.”
“Tell your legislators we’ve had enough,” the ad says.
The gun-control advocates arrived two days after the National Rifle Association helped bus hundreds of supporters to the Capitol. The gun rights group helped organize a lobby day after Malloy released his package of gun control proposals and a legislative panel unveiled competing gun violence recommendations from
Democrats and Republicans, said John Hohenwarter, an NRA state liaison.
Malloy presented his gun-control plan in February. It gives individuals with magazines that can feed more than 10 rounds until Oct. 1 to sell them out of state, turn them over to local law enforcement or permanently modify them so they no longer hold more than 10 rounds.
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