Approving a gun-control bill for the third time in less than 24 hours, the state House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that bars gun owners from leaving a handgun in an unattended motor vehicle unless the firearm is locked in the trunk, a glove box or “a securely locked safe.”
Republicans initially staged a sustained offensive against the bill, which originally subjected violators to up to five years in prison. But after Democrats agreed to lower the penalty for a first offense to a misdemeanor, the debate quickly ended and the measure was easily approved on a vote of 98 to 50.
Eleven Republicans, including House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby, and 87 Democrats voted for the bill. Rep. Pat Boyd of Pomfret was the only Democrat to vote no.
Republicans argued that the state should focus more on punishing thieves who steal guns rather than the victimized owners. To underscore the point, the Republicans offered an amendment that would have increased the maximum penalties for gun thefts, which now carry a mandatory minimum of two years in prison. It failed on a straight party-line vote.
On Tuesday night, the House voted 127-16 for bill requiring the safe storage of untended firearms at home, whether loaded or unloaded.
By a vote of 108-36, the House endorsed a measure that would regulate 3D-printed firearms and ban so-called “ghost guns” that can be assembled from untraceable parts, unless the owner obtains and engraves the weapon with a serial number obtained from the state.
All three bills now go to the Senate.