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Newtown-based firearm trade group sues for repeal of Connecticut gun laws

By Allison Malloy, CNN
updated 8:25 PM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
  • The National Shooting Sports Foundation says constitutional procedure wasn't followed
  • The law bans more than 100 types of assault weapons, among other provisions
  • The governor's spokesman says the challenge was expected

(CNN) -- A firearm trade group based in Newtown, Connecticut, has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Dannel Malloy and other state lawmakers in hopes of reversing the state's recently passed strict gun control law.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, the National Shooting Sports Foundation alleges the Connecticut bill that made history for its tough measures on gun control -- including a ban on the sale and purchase of high capacity magazines -- was illegally introduced and rushed through legislation by Malloy and other lawmakers.

The NSSF alleges the bill is in violation of Connecticut's constitution, which states that printed copies of proposed bills must be provided to legislators two days before a vote can take place.

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The bill, which passed on April 3 and was signed into law by Malloy the following day, banned more than 100 types of assault weapons, called for background checks on all weapon sales -- including private sales -- and created the nation's first dangerous weapon offender registry.

"A 139-page bill was assembled behind closed doors, bypassing both the public hearing and committee processes, and quickly sent to floor votes on the same day in both the House and Senate, where legislators did not have adequate time to even read the bill," Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the NSSF, said in a news release.

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"Our suit focuses on this abuse of process that has resulted in enacted law that does nothing to improve public safety, while resulting in adverse effects on law-abiding citizens, manufactures, retailers and sportsmen's organizations."

The NSSF, whose headquarters are less than 3 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 students and adults were killed by a gunman on December 14, 2012, wants the laws repealed.

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Andrew Doba, Malloy's spokesman, issued a statement saying, "We've known for some time that groups opposed to the new gun violence prevention law would be filing suit against it. We believe the bill improves public safety, and we will work with the attorney general's office to defend it.

"Let's not forget that this has happened before. In prior instances where Connecticut has passed common sense restrictions on firearms, there have been challenges. They have all been unsuccessful."

Asked if he thinks the laws will be upheld, Doba responded, "That's for the courts to decide."

The lawsuit also names as defendants state legislature leaders J. Brendan Sharkey and Donald Williams Jr.; state Attorney General George Jepsen; Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane; and Reuben Bradford, commissioner of public safety.

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