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.

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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5 Comments

  1. How about stiffer penaltys for people who steal guns from cars and homes.children playing with guns should also be repremanded.

  2. Reportedly the numbers of firearms stolen from homes is far larger than those stolen from autos typically having alarms. Moving towards storage in gun safes is a step in the right direction. Widely used throughout the western nations. Long mandated in California.

    If we’re really concerned about gun violence we ought turn our attention to where it mostly occurs – in our inner cities. Here he sad story is that penalties for illegal carry/possession are fairly mild. Any many inner city residents carry or own weapons for personal safety. As long as CT lawmakers do not seriously address how to reduce gun related crime in our inner cities not much will change. Oft suggested that we need draconian penalties for illegal carry/possession.

    It’s instructive to peruse the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports across CT’s major cities. High rates of violent crime are not only present in our major cities. Some fairly well to do cities also have high rates. Best not to name names.

  3. The sad reality is that high incidence of gun violence in our major CT cities leads many to illegally acquire guns for personal protection. So if draconian penalties for illegal ownership were imposed those acquiring guns for self protection would be penalized the same as those who acquired illegal guns for illegal activities.

    It’s instructive to compare population per police officer across CT’s towns and cities. Last time I looked Greenwich – our wealthiest community – had more police per capita than any other CT town/city. Because they could afford the protection. And our major depressed cities are at the other end of the spectrum.

    Maybe some day CT lawmakers will pay serious attention to our major cities and focus on 2 essentials – reduce violent crime and provide subsidies to encourage industry providing good jobs. “I have a dream”.

  4. Are our Legislators aware that most stolen weapons are obtained from theft in homes ?

    Do our Legislators have any current information on numbers of weapons stolen from autos ?

    Are there any States or communities that have seen a significant reduction in theft of weapons owned by licensed carry permit holders from locked autos ?

    Do the Legislators have any estimates of the numbers of illegally owned weapons circulating in CT ?

    Do the Legislators believe that locked glove boxes or trunks are effective means of preventing firearm thefts from autos ?

    If our Legislators were really concerned about thefts of firearms from autos they’d require “gun safes” bolted/welded to the car’s frame. Following the practice of law enforcement authorities.

    Are our Legislators aware that illegal weapons can be purchased at fairly reasonable prices in any of our major CT cities without much effort according to local authorities. What effect would the proposed new laws have on major City illegal gun sales ?

  5. Is it true that only “criminal minds” in our inner cities own illegally acquired weapons ?
    Or is it possible that many law abiding and well mannered residents secure illegal weapons for personal safety given the acknowledged much higher violent crime in our inner cities ?
    Bridgeport has a much higher per capita incidence of violent crime than Greenwich. But Greenwich has far higher numbers of police per capita than Bridgeport. And Greenwich has quite low violent crime rates. Maybe there’s a connection between incidence of violent crime and desire to secure illegal weapons for protection.

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