State as­sis­tant AG talks gun laws

The News-Times (Sunday) - - News / From The Front Page - By Han­nah Dellinger

GREENWICH — The re­cent shoot­ing death of a Stam­ford teenager was on the minds of many of those who gath­ered to hear Con­necti­cut As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral Maura Mur­phy Os­borne speak about le­gal chal­lenges to gun safety leg­is­la­tion.

“We’re tired and frus­trated with the cy­cle of shoot­ings, fol­lowed by thoughts and prayers fol­lowed by in­ac­tion,” said Jen Barro, group leader of the re­cently formed Greenwich chap­ter of Moms De­mand Ac­tion, af­ter ref­er­enc­ing the mur­der of 16-year-old Mar­cus Hall. “I think we owe it to our com­mu­nity to change our cul­ture and im­prove our gun laws.”

Hall’s killing — the se­cond fa­tal shoot­ing of a teen in Stam­ford’s West Side neigh­bor­hood in the last sev­eral months — wasn’t the only tragedy that pro­pelled the crowd to ac­tion. Many of the dozen or so peo­ple who came to the event, or­ga­nized by Moms De­mand Ac­tion and held at the YWCA Greenwich, in­di­cated they had been di­rectly af­fected by gun vi­o­lence and most said they knew some­one who had been.

Mur­phy Os­borne de­tailed the ori­gin story of Pub­lic Act 13-3, leg­is­la­tion that was passed in Con­necti­cut’s Leg­is­la­ture shortly af­ter the mas­sacre at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School in 2012. And she re­called her fight in the U.S. Supreme Court to save it.

“We’re proud of a lot of the laws our of­fice has de­fended,” the at­tor­ney said at the gath­er­ing Thurs­day night. “But we are es­pe­cially proud of the post-Sandy Hook gun laws we saved.”

The bill ex­panded the state’s ban as­sault-style weapons and im­ple­mented a ban on high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines. It also strength­ened gun seizure laws and men­tal health pro­vi­sions.

In Shew v. Mal­loy, the plain­tiff, June Shew, claimed her Se­cond Amend­ment rights were sti­fled by the law by pre­vent­ing her from buy­ing an AR-15.

In the case, Mur­phy Os­borne ar­gued the Con­stitu- tion doesn’t af­ford the pub­lic the right to own ex­tremely dan­ger­ous types of firearm. She drew on An­tonin Scalia’s opin­ion in the land­mark case Dis­trict of Columbia v. Heller, which said though in­di­vid­u­als do have the right to bear weapons that are com­monly used, that right is not ex­tended to all weapons.

Mur­phy Os­borne said she demon­strated through ex­pert tes­ti­mony that as­sault ri­fles like the AR-15 are es­sen­tially as deadly as weapons of war.

“The Sandy Hook shooter went in with an AR-15 and had 10 30-round mag­a­zines and a glock pis­tol with a 17-round mag­a­zine. In un­der 5 min­utes, he fired 154 bul­lets,” she said. “For prac-

“We’re proud of a lot of the laws our of­fice has de­fended. But we are es­pe­cially proud of the post-Sandy Hook gun laws we saved.”

Maura Mur­phy Os­borne, Con­necti­cut As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral

tical pur­poses, an AR-15 op­er­ates in much the same man­ner as an M16.”

Pub­lic Act 13-3 with­stood the federal chal­lenge, but it’s con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity is still be­ing de­cided in the Con­necti­cut Supreme Court, where it’s been lit­i­gated for 10 years.

“We’ve lit­i­gated it and we’re hop­ing for fa­vor­able de­ci­sion on that in the near fu­ture,” Mur­phy Os­borne said.

Though Mur­phy Os­borne said the state’s gun laws are in “good shape,” she pointed to some de­vel­op­ing na­tional is­sues she an­tic­i­pates.

“A ma­jor ques­tion is: Do peo­ple have the right to carry a firearm out­side of their home?” she said. “Con­necti­cut does not re­strict carry as long as it’s a suit­able per­son. But federal courts all over the coun­try are all say­ing dif­fer­ent things. It will go to the Supreme Court in fu­ture, most likely.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.