After the 2012 Newtown school shootings, Connecticut legislators set out to draft some of the nation’s toughest gun measures. They significantly expanded an existing ban on the sale of assault weapons, prohibiting the sale of magazines with more than 10 rounds and requiring the registration of existing assault rifles and higher-capacity magazines. The state also required background checks for all firearms sales and created a registry of weapons offenders, including those accused of illegally possessing a firearm, the New York Times reports. After the Florida school shooting, gun-control advocates, Democratic politicians and others are pointing to the success of states like Connecticut in addressing the spiraling toll of gun violence.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says that, with few exceptions, states with the strictest gun-control measures, including California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, have the lowest rates of gun deaths, while those with the most lax laws like Alabama, Alaska and Louisiana, have the highest. After Connecticut passed its package of gun laws, gun-related deaths started to drop. The number of deaths resulting from firearms fell to 164 in 2016, from 226 in 2012. There are limits to state and local gun laws. Cities like Chicago and Baltimore, with rigorous gun laws, also have two of the nation’s highest murder rates. The black market for illegal guns has thrived in those cities, with gang members and criminals turning to the streets to get firearms. Still, state officials say Connecticut has experienced the fastest drop in violent crime of any state over the last four years. Gun-control advocates say the suspect in Florida, Nikolas Cruz, could not have bought the AR-15-style rifle used in the attack, or the high-capacity magazines, in Connecticut.