Florida and the rest of the nation may have moved on from the Newtown school massacre, but Connecticut hasn't. Connecticut Gov. Daniel P. Malloy signed into law last week perhaps the most sweeping gun controls in the nation less than four months after the shootings that devastated his state and the nation. As President Barack Obama cautioned, the 20 children and six educators who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School should not be forgotten.
The bipartisan Connecticut legislation will require new state-issued eligibility certificates for the purchase of any shotgun, rifle or ammunition. The state also will impose the nation's first dangerous weapons offender registry, requiring anyone convicted of any of more than 40 weapons offenses to register with the state. And it closes the indefensible "gun show loophole" by requiring in-state universal background checks for the sale of all firearms and significantly expands Connecticut's existing ban on assault weapons. An effort to ban ownership of high-capacity magazines with more than 10 bullets failed, but high-capacity magazines must now be registered with the state. None of Connecticut's thoughtful public safety measures infringe on responsible gun owners who want to possess a firearm.
At least 3,292 Americans have been killed by firearms since the Dec. 14 Newtown shootings. But public support for broad gun control measures, which spiked in the immediate aftermath of the killings, has begun to decline as memories fade. Congress remains bogged down in partisanship and cowed by the National Rifle Association over passing even a reasonable universal background check on gun sales, which still enjoys overwhelming public support. In Florida, the Legislature has no interest in repealing the "stand your ground'' law despite its obvious flaws, and even efforts to refine the law appear to be stalled.
The Connecticut legislature demonstrated it is possible for Democrats and Republicans to put aside ideological differences and ignore the NRA's fearmongering propaganda to come together for a greater public good. The killing of 20 children can provide focus and motivation. But it should not require such a tremendous sacrifice of little innocents close to home for members of Congress and state lawmakers to enact sensible gun control measures. The president has not forgotten the victims at Newtown, and neither should Florida and the rest of the nation.