HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Gov. Ned Lamont outlined legislative proposals aimed at eliminating gun violence in Connecticut during a news conference Monday.
The governor said he plans to introduce the proposals on the first day of the 2022 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly, which starts Wednesday.
The legislative proposals include the enhancement of efforts to stop the flow of illegal guns to the state, providing millions of dollars in additional funding to law enforcement to strengthen their work, and closing loopholes in gun safety laws.
“While Connecticut remains one of the safest states in the nation with a violent crime rate less than half of the national rate, one shooting is one too many, and it is our responsibility to enact sensible policies that make our communities safer,” Lamont said.
The governor is proposing the following changes:
- Establish a Gun Tracing Task Force to identify the source of illegal guns
- Create a statewide community violence intervention program
- Stop the flow of illegal “ghost guns”
- Ensure gun stores take their obligations seriously
- Modify carry laws
- Close loopholes in assault weapons laws
- Make domestic violence convictions an automatic disqualifier for holding a carry permit
- Strengthen laws on safe storage of firearms
Lamont’s proposal would also ban people from carrying a firearm in polling places.
The most controversial idea is modifying carry laws to allow police officers to ask to see someone’ permit. Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection James Rovella said the Rittenhouse case in Wisconsin pushed this change forward. Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges in connection to two fatal shootings during a protest.
“Police need the proper tools to keep themselves safe, to keep protestors safe, to keep regular citizens safe. We did push a little bit and we’d like this one to come back up,” Rovella said.
Lamont is also proposing budget adjustments that his administration said will make a $64 million investment in public safety in Connecticut. That investment includes:
- $19 million to prevent and reduce repeat crime
- $4 million to speed up criminal investigations using forensic science
- $23 million to clear accumulated court cases
- $18 million to help crime victims recover from crime
Lamont is also asking for faster lab results and more judges to be approved to clear the back log of cases. He is open to potentially reopening the juvenile training center in Middletown.
“We’ve seen in the past where Republicans and Democrats have come together like with Ethan‘s Law to pass and make reforms that are meaningful. But this shotgun approach to try and deflect from the issues that are important to residents and I think to antagonize a lot of gun owners throughout the state of Connecticut probably isn’t the best approach,” said State Representative and House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora.
It is unclear whether there will be bipartisan support for this proposal.