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Connecticut responds to Newtown with groundbreaking gun control laws

Connecticut's gun-control package includes a dangerous-weapon offender registry and a requirement to obtain 'eligibility' certificates to buy bullets, rifles, and shotguns.

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Brady Eggleston of Newtown, Conn., participates in a protest outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown on March 28. Three months after a gunman killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut is passing one of the toughest packages gun-control laws in the nation.

Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters

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How far can states go to control guns?

Less than four months after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Connecticut legislature is expected to enact a new law on Wednesday that will give it one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation.

It incorporates many of the “must haves” of gun control advocates, such as universal background checks to purchase a gun and an expanded ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines. But it also includes some unusual items, such as a first-in-the-nation dangerous-weapon offender registry and the requirement to obtain “eligibility” certificates to obtain bullets, rifles, and shotguns.

“It’s pretty innovative,” says Laura Cutilletta, a senior staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco. “It shows how the tide is turning.”

The Connecticut law follows one that was passed in New York at the beginning of the year and another package that signed into law last month in Colorado. More gun control laws under consideration in Oregon, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Illinois, Ms. Cutilletta says. California has 40 gun control measures working their way through the legislature.

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