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Judge upholds Connecticut gun control law passed after Newtown shootings

Gun and bullets
Gun and bullets

By Ellen Wulfhorst

(Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday upheld Connecticut's tough gun control law that was passed in the wake of the deadly 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The stringent law is constitutional, said the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Alfred Covello, denying a legal challenge by a group of gun owners.

The state's gun control measures, among the strictest in the nation, were signed into law four months after a gunman in December 2012 killed 26 children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Newtown shooting revived a national debate on gun control and led to passage of stringent gun-control laws in northeastern states such as Connecticut and New York. Other states rejected new curbs on gun ownership.

The legal challenge filed last year argued that Connecticut's law violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects the right to keep and bear arms.

"While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control," Covello wrote in his 47-page ruling.

Connecticut's law bans the sale of more than 100 types of military-style rifles, penalizes gun owners who do not register with state police and limits large-capacity magazines to 10 bullets.

Governor Dannel Malloy in a statement said the federal judge made the right decision.

"The common-sense measures we enacted last session will make our state safer, and I am grateful for the court's seal of approval," said Malloy, who signed the measures into law on April 4, 2013, the day after they were approved by both the state Senate and House of Representatives.

In his ruling, the judge noted that the state's law does not prohibit handguns, bolt-action rifles, revolvers or most shotguns.

(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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