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National digest: Conn. legislators reach agreement on strict gun laws

Çonnecticut
Strict gun-law deal agreed by legislators

Connecticut lawmakers announced a deal Monday on what they called some of the toughest gun laws in the country that were proposed after the mass school shooting in December, including a ban on new high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the massacre that left 20 children and six educators dead.

The proposal includes new registration requirements for existing magazines that carry 10 or more bullets, something of a disappointment for some family members of Newtown victims who wanted an outright ban on the possession of all high-capacity magazines. Some traveled to the state Capitol on Monday to lobby lawmakers for an outright ban.

The package also creates what lawmakers said is the nation’s first statewide dangerous-weapon-offender registry, creates a new “ammunition eligibility certificate,” imposes immediate universal background checks for all firearm sales, and extends the state’s assault weapons ban to 100 new types of firearms and directs that a weapon with only one of several features will be banned.

The newly banned weapons could no longer be bought or sold in Connecticut, and those legally owned already would have to be registered with the state, just like the high-capacity magazines.

The bill also addresses mental health and school security measures.

— Associated Press

Pennsylvania
Sen. Casey backs same-sex marriage

Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) said Monday that he now supports same-sex marriage.

Having come to believe that the Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed, he decided that he could not take that stance without supporting gay marriage outright, Casey told the Morning Call in an interview.

A letter from a lesbian constituent influenced his decision, the Catholic senator said.

Only eight Democratic senators do not support same-sex marriage: Thomas R. Carper (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.).

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) told an Arizona news station over the weekend that his son’s homosexuality has not led him to change his position on gay marriage. “I haven’t evolved to that stage,” the Mormon congressman told 3TV.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently endorsed gay marriage, saying he was moved to do so when his son came out as gay.

— Rachel Weiner

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