A federal judge on Thursday rejected a request to temporarily block Connecticut’s landmark 2013 gun control law, passed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, until a gun rights group’s lawsuit against the statute has concluded.
U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven ruled the National Association for Gun Rights has not shown that the state’s ban on certain assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines, or LCMs, violates the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms or that such weapons are commonly bought and used for self-defense.
Connecticut officials “have submitted persuasive evidence that assault weapons and LCMs are more often sought out for their militaristic characteristics than for self-defense, that these characteristics make the weapons disproportionately dangerous to the public based on their increased capacity for lethality, and that assault weapons and LCMs are more often used in crimes and mass shootings than in self-defense,” Arterton said.
The judge added that “the Nation has a longstanding history and tradition of regulating those aspects of the weapons or manners of carry that correlate with rising firearm violence.”
The National Association for Gun Rights, based in Loveland, Colorado, criticized the ruling and vowed an appeal.
“We’re used to seeing crazy judicial acrobatics to reason the Second Amendment into oblivion, but this ruling is extreme even for leftist courts,” it said in a statement. “This is an outrageous slap in the face to law-abiding gun owners and the Constitution alike.”
The 2013 law was passed after a gunman with an AR-15-style rifle killed 20 children and six educators at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown in December 2012. The law added more than 100 firearms, including the Bushmaster rifle used in the shooting, to the state’s assault weapons ban and prohibited ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Previous attempts to overturn the law in court failed. The association and a Connecticut gun owner sued the state in September after a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court broadly expanded gun rights and led to a rash of rulings invalidating some longstanding restrictions on firearms.
The National Association for Gun Rights said Arterton is refusing to follow the clear guidance of that ruling and “twisting the Supreme Court’s words in order to continue a decade-long practice of trampling the Second Amendment as a second-class right.”
Arterton’s ruling means Connecticut’s law will remain in effect while the lawsuit proceeds in court.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, whose office is defending the law, said the statute is constitutional and widely supported by the public.
“We will not allow gun industry lobbyists from outside our state to come here and jeopardize the safety of our children and communities,” Tong said in a statement.
Gun rights supporters have cited last year’s Supreme Court ruling in challenging other Connecticut gun laws, including one passed this year banning the open carrying of firearms. The 2013 law also is being challenged by other gun rights supporters in another lawsuit.