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Connecticut lawmakers reach deal on 'most comprehensive' gun limits in US

Jessica Hill / AP file

David Wheeler, father of Sandy Hook School shooting victim Benjamin, listens to a legislative hearing of a task force on gun violence and children's safety at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn., on Jan. 30, 2013.

Connecticut lawmakers on Monday said they had reached an agreement on compromise gun control legislation that they said would be one of the toughest in the nation, 3½ months after 20 children and six other people were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school.

The bill includes a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines like those Adam Lanza used to fire 154 shots in four 4 minutes Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a new registry for existing high-capacity magazines and background checks for private gun sales, NBC Connecticut reported.

While the measure would ban the sale of ammunition magazines able to handle more than 10 bullets, Gov. Dannell Malloy and parents of the Sandy Hook victims objected to a "grandfather clause" that will allow current owners of such magazines to keep them.

But state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, a Democrat representing New Haven, told NBC Connecticut that the bill, which could be voted on as early as Wednesday, would still impose some of the nation's toughest gun control laws on Connecticut residents.

At a news conference Monday, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, a Republican whose district includes Newtown, agreed that the deal was "the most comprehensive package in the country because of its breadth," The Associated Press reported.

In what was being described as a first in the U.S., gun owners would have to register current magazines accommodating more than 10 rounds with the state by January, The New Haven Register reported.

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The measure would also require universal background checks for all firearm sales — many states don't require them for private sales, such as those between family members or collectors — and would add 34 more weapons to the state's list of banned semi-automatic assault-style weapons. 

The Register reported that the bill would also strengthen penalties for gun trafficking and would expand the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners to include a mental health professional and a retired judge.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, a Democrat representing Hamden, told reporters the measure was meant to send a message to Washington that "this is the way to get this job done."

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Related: 'Grandfather clause' in Connecticut gun bill angers Sandy Hook families