Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-358

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING PROHIBITING THE TRANSFER OF ASSAULT WEAPONS OR MACHINE GUNS TO MINORS.

Vote Date:

4/1/2009

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/16/2009

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Judiciary Committee, Senator Looney, 11th District

REASONS FOR BILL:

Senator Martin M. Looney, 11th District proposed this bill in response to the tragedy at the gun show in Massachusetts where an eight year old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair. It is of vital importance that we keep children safe from assault weapons and machine guns.

Substitute Language:

This amends 53-202 (c) “Any person who (1) possesses or uses a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose, or (2) notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection (h) of this section, transfers, sells or gives a machine gun to a person under sixteen years of age, including the temporary transfer of a machine gun to such person for use in target shooting or on a firing or shooting range or for any other purpose,...”

Testimony was submitted in opposition to the Committee Bill or the Proposed Substitute before the Proposed Amendment was passed.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Senator Martin M. Looney, 11th District Support this bill. Children should not be in possession of assault weapons and machine guns which they may not be strong enough to control. It is unclear under current law whether children are strictly prohibited from possessing assault weapons and machine guns and this legislation would leave no doubt that Connecticut will protect its youth from this obvious danger.

Chief James M. Lewis, New Haven Police Department. It is difficult to imagine any legitimate use by a minor of an assault weapon within an urban environment. We believe this exposes the minor to unnecessary risk that they may not be able to recognize.

Chief Anthony Salvatore & Chief James Strillacci, Connecticut Police Chiefs Association. If people under 18 are too young to understand their rights or to give a statement inside a courtroom without a parent present, they're certainly too young to handle assault weapons.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

David Hodgman Jr. This law would hurt someone such as me or any other parent who wants to go to the range with a child for a day of legal sport shooting. Let's work on putting the real, law breaking criminals in jail with minimal plea bargaining so they stay where they belong. This type of law only hurts good honest people. The criminal doesn't follow the law.

Peter Kuck, Board of Firearms Permit. I oppose this bill because it is based on a single tragedy in a neighboring state. It is just another example of a tragedy being used to push through unneeded legislation.

Randy Bieler. “I would not like to go to the National Championships this year & say they passed a law that says Connecticut Juniors can not compete!!! If you have to pick a new age, pick 10, remove the term 'at shooting ranges'”.

Steven Loban, Hans D. Justus, Thomas R. Walker, and Robert T. Crook, Director, Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen Opposed the Committee Bill because it prohibited the transfer, sale or receipt of an “assault weapon” by a minor.

Reported by: Dennis Carroll

Date: 4/6/09