With final legislative passage coming at 2:30 this morning, Gov. Dannel Malloy is set to sign the post-Sandy Hook legislation that will give Connecticut the toughest anti-gun violence laws in the nation. Now the legislature needs to figure out how to pay for it.
The new laws will be far reaching and includes stricter gun control laws as well as the school safety and mental health issues. The debate Wednesday was raucous with gun owners bused in by the Connecticut Sportsman Association. They alternately booed, heckled and jeered every legislator that had to walk the gauntlet to get to their caucus rooms. Gov. Malloy’s security detail decided that Malloy should not attend an event recognizing Autism Awareness Month because to get to the room where the event was held, he’d have to cut right through the protestors.
So where do we go from here? First, the legislature has to figure out how to pay for the implantation of the bill. According to the fiscal note—the determination by the Office of Fiscal Analysis on how much a bill costs—the new laws will cost the state between $8.6 and $9.6 million in fiscal year 2014 and $7.3 million in fiscal year 2015. Supporters of the bill say that’s a small price to pay. That may be true but they still have to pay it. There is no placeholder in the governor’s budget for funds for the new laws so it will be up the legislature’s finance and appropriations committees to figure it out. The state is just under $100 million in the red as it is.
There’s no question that some parts of the new laws, specifically the stricter gun control measures, will be challenged in court on Second Amendment grounds. The NRA or the Connecticut Sportsman Association my even seek an injunction to stop implementation of the laws.
Meanwhile, the eyes of the nation are on Connecticut. Just yesterday Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said his state should follow in the footsteps of Connecticut. Others may follow.