Lawsuit challenges new gun laws in Conn.

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May 23, 2013, 6:32 pm
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(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Conn. lawmakers passed tough new gun control laws.

They added to the list of assault weapons already banned, limited the size of ammunition magazines and expanded background checks on gun buyers.

Connecticut joined New York with the toughest gun laws in the nation.

Brian Stapleton is the lead attorney in a federal lawsuit challenging both state's laws as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment right to bear arms.  

"These set of laws are... violate the core right to defend yourself, hearth and home, under the Second Amendment because they ban firearms that are in common use and wide possession not just in Connecticut but throughout the United States and that there's an equal protection problem and there's a vagueness issue."

Stapleton says two Supreme Court decisions striking down gun control laws in Washington DC and Illinois have changed the legal landscape.

People who favor Connecticut's tougher gun laws are not worried about this.  They point out this isn't the first time the state has passed tough gun laws and its not the first time they've been challenged.

Mike Lawlor helped write many of those laws, first as a state representative, now as the governor's adviser on criminal justice.

"Since 1993 Connecticut has had an assault weapons ban.  It was expanded in 2001.  It's been expanded again this year.  All of those changes have been challenged in both state and federal court every single time the NRA has lost."

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit include, among others, the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, gun retailers and ordinary citizens. Stapleton says New York's and Connecticut's laws are bell-weathers and if they pass muster in the federal courts other state's could pass similar legislation confident that it does not violate the Constitution.

Tags: hartford, connecticut, Brian Burnell, Second Amendment, gun control laws, Connecticut gun control laws
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