Former, current Connecticut lawmakers commemorate 30th anniversary of assault weapons ban


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — On June 8, 1993, Connecticut became just the third state in the nation to ban assault weapons. Former and current state leaders celebrated the law’s success on Thursday. They are looking at the next gun control measure while reminiscing about what happened 30 years ago.

Back then, the bill passed the state House after a lengthy debate.

“This is the transcript of that debate,” said former Democratic State Sen. Mike Lawlor, holding up a thick sheaf of paper. “It went all night. It began at 7:39 p.m. with the vote to table. It ended at 3:44 a.m.”

Some lawmakers who were vital in the bill’s passage passed three decades ago gathered Thursday in Hartford to celebrate the 30th anniversary. In 1993, it passed the House by 20 votes. It was a tie in the Senate, which Lt. Gov. Eunice Groark broke. Former Democratic state Attorney General George Jepsen was a state senator then and said the bill worked.

“Gun deaths in Connecticut are measurably lower than the national average,” Jepsen said. “We’re one of the nation’s leaders in that respect.”

The state has passed further gun control laws in the last 30 years, including a major one after the Sandy Hook shooting. Now, there’s another that has passed the House.

“Which closes loopholes that have developed over the years in our assault weapon ban and also expands or safe storage law,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D-Conn.) said.

The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action issued a statement, saying the safe storage portion of the bill would mean: “…rendering self-defense in one’s own home obsolete. It also bans unserialized firearms, targeting hobbyists and gun collectors.”

Now, the vote goes to the Senate. Martin Looney, the top Democrat in the Senate, was not sure when the vote would happen, but he said he hoped it would be bipartisan, just like in 1993.

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