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Connecticut legislative leaders reach tough gun-control deal

Residents protest outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown, Connecticut March 28, 2013 after receiving robocalls from the
Residents protest outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown, Connecticut March 28, 2013 after receiving robocalls from the

By Ebong Udoma

HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - Legislative leaders in Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in December, said on Monday they had agreed some of the toughest gun regulations in the nation and expected to adopt them this week.

The proposal, which is expected to pass both Democratic-controlled houses of the state legislature this week and become law, includes a ban on sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines, background checks for private gun sales and a registry for existing magazines that carry 10 or more bullets.

High-capacity magazines holding 30 bullets each were used in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

The proposed legislation creates a state-issued eligibility certificate for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition. A buyer would need to be fingerprinted, take a firearms training course and undergo a background check to qualify.

The proposals were presented to rank-and-file legislative members on Monday after several weeks of negotiations among legislative leaders.

Announcing the plan at a news conference at the state capitol on Monday evening, state Senate President Donald Williams, a Democrat representing Brooklyn, Connecticut, said the deal went beyond what any other state had done in banning high-capacity magazines.

The measure not only bans the sale of high-capacity magazines from January 1, 2014, but such magazines that exist now must be registered with the state by that date, or it will become a felony to own them.

Senate Minority leader John McKinney, a Republican whose district includes Newtown, said that after the school shootings both Republican and Democratic state lawmakers decided the issue had risen above partisan politics.

"The deal is the most comprehensive package in the country because of its breadth," he said. "I think it's a package that a majority of people in Connecticut will be proud (of) when we vote on Wednesday."

Legislative leaders have agreed to bring the measure to a vote on Wednesday.

Governor Dannel Malloy, also a Democrat, has pushed for passage of the bill and is expected to sign it into law.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing David Brunnstrom)

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