Connecticut's Assault Weapons Ban Upheld by Federal Judge

One of the toughest gun control laws in the country has been ruled constitutional.

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The tragic Newtown school shootings may not have led to the nationwide gun control laws many hoped for, but they were an impetus for change in Connecticut, where they happened.

Last April, the state passed one of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines were banned, background checks were required for all gun purchases, millions of dollars were allocated to school safety and mental health programs and a registry of dangerous weapon offenders was created.

Of course, that law was quickly challenged by lawsuits from gun rights groups. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (which, you'll recall, is headquartered just three miles away from Sandy Hook elementary school)  filed one in July and the Connecticut Citizens' Defense League filed one in May.

NSSF's lawsuit was dismissed last month. Today, a federal judge ruled against the CCDL, saying that the law is constitutional, if "not written with the utmost clarity."

From the decision:

The court concludes that the legislation is constitutional. While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control.

The outcome is similar to that of New York's SAFE Act, which last month was largely upheld. Also just like with New York, the losing side plans to file an appeal. But for the time being, at least, AR-15s like the one Adam Lanza used to kill 20 children and 6 adults in an elementary school are illegal.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.