Gun Group Challenges Connecticut Law

     HARTFORD (CN) – Newtown-based gun enthusiasts claim in court that Connecticut abused the legislative process to fast-track a gun control bill after the Sandy Hook School massacre.
     The National Shooting Sports Foundation, based in Newtown, Conn., sued Gov. Dannel Malloy, the leaders of both legislative houses and other top state officials, in Federal Court.
     The Connecticut Legislature approved Senate Bill 1160 on April 3 and Malloy signed it into law on April 4.
     It came in response to the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook elementary School in Newtown that left 20 children and six educators dead.
     This is the third lawsuit challenging the gun control bill, which increased the number of firearms banned in the state and limited the size of magazines to 10 bullets.
     The NSSF challenges the emergency certification process used to get the bipartisan bill passed.
     It claims that SB 1160 was “improperly introduced” in April via “emergency certification” by defendants Speaker of the House J. Brendan Sharkey and Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams Jr.
     “SB 1160 bypassed basic safeguards of the normal legislative process, including the bill printing requirements and both the public hearing and committee processes, and was passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives the same day it was introduced,” the complaint states.
     It adds: “As such, SB 1160 violates procedural due process and is unconstitutional and invalid.”
     The NSSF claims that Connecticut law requires that “no bill shall be passed or become a law unless it has been printed in its final form … and upon the desks of the members at least two legislative days prior to its final passage.”
     “The clear purpose of CGS [Connecticut General Statute] 2-26 is to ensure that bills would not be voted upon or passed by legislators without the legislators having had a reasonable opportunity to review the proposed legislation,” the complaint states.
     The statute does have an emergency provision: If “the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives have certified, in writing, the facts which in their opinion necessitate an immediate vote on such bill,” the complaint states, citing the law.
     The NSSF claims that Sharkey and Williams “failed to set forth any facts which necessitated an immediate vote,” so the bill “was facially defective and invalid.”
     The NSSF seeks declaratory judgment that the bill is “unconstitutional and void,” and a permanent injunction against its enforcement.
     The NSSF is represented by Christopher Renzulli of White Plains, N.Y.

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