The General Assembly approved a measure Monday making several technical changes to the gun control statute enacted this April in response to December’s fatal shooting at a Newtown elementary school.

While they enacted a statute two months ago that imposes numerous new restrictions on firearm purchases, tightens school security and expands insurance coverage for mental health, lawmakers have since discovered numerous problems with that measure.

The House and Senate adopted a series of technical changes Monday with broad bipartisan support.

The changes: 

  • Allow people who purchased assault weapons or large-capacity magazines on April 4 – the day the governor signed the gun control measure  – to register and lawfully possess them.
  • Allow sworn and duly certified state and local police officers, properly certified constables and certain officers and inspectors at the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office to buy assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. They must have written authorization from their respective departments to do so and must register the weapons and magazines within 90 days when they separate from active service.
  • Exempt the law enforcement officers listed from new long gun and ammunition certificate requirements.
  • Allow federally licensed collectors to buy certain firearms that fall into the category of banned weapons but are more than 50 years old.
  • Allow federally licensed firearms manufacturers to possess large-capacity magazines for their weapons without declaring their possession.
  • Allow individuals who legally possess assault weapons to bequeath them to underage beneficiaries, provided the weapons are kept in trust until the recipients reach age 21.
  • And clarify that semi-automated rifles that were defined as assault weapons prior to enactment of the April statute continue to be defined as assault weapons.

The bill passed unanimously Monday in the Senate and 131-15 in the House.

Malloy, whose office helped negotiate the technical changes, is expected to sign the bill.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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