HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut's Senate approved sweeping new restrictions on weapons and large-capacity magazines Wednesday, a response to last year's deadly Newtown elementary school shooting that would give the state some of the country's tightest gun control laws.
The December massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which reignited a national debate on gun control, set the stage for changes in the state that may have been impossible elsewhere: The governor, who personally informed parents that their children had been killed that day, championed the cause, and legislative leaders, keenly aware of the attention on the state, struck a bipartisan agreement they hope will serve as a national model.
"The tragedy in Newtown demands a powerful response, demands a response that transcends politics," said Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., a Democrat. "It is the strongest and most comprehensive bill in the country."
The bill passed the Senate in a bipartisan 26-10 vote after a respectful and at times somber six-hour debate Wednesday evening. The House then debated the bill and was expected to vote later in the night. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he would sign it into law.
The legislation would add more than 100 firearms to the state's assault weapons ban and create what officials have called the nation's first dangerous weapon offender registry, as well as eligibility rules for buying ammunition. Some parts of the bill would take effect immediately after Malloy's signature, including background checks for all firearms sales.
Connecticut would join states including California, New Jersey and Massachusetts in having the country's strongest gun control laws, said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington. Colorado and New York also passed new gun control requirements in the wake of the Newtown shooting.