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Thursday
Apr042013

Connecticut Lawmakers Pass Nation's Toughest Gun Bill

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- Connecticut’s Legislature passed what is considered the toughest gun bill in the nation early Thursday.  Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy is expected to sign it into law later that day.

Lawmakers in the General Assembly debated the bipartisan measure for hours until finally passing it by a vote of 105 to 42.  On Wednesday, the Connecticut Senate approved the measure by a vote of 26 to 10.

The gun bill’s supporters insisted that it would not compromise the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while opponents, backed by the National Rifle Association, said law-abiding citizens were being unfairly targeted.

In a nutshell, the bill expands Connecticut's current ban on assault weapons, makes background checks on all gun purchases mandatory, establishes a registry of firearm offenders and prohibits the sale of magazines with 10 or more bullets.

The legislation also sets up better systems to help health professionals diagnose and treat people with mental illness.

Many Connecticut lawmakers felt they had no choice but to quickly pass more stringent gun laws following last December's carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.  Lone gunman Adam Lanza used a semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle to fire over 150 high-velocity rounds that killed 20 first-grade children and six adults.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio