Despite Advances in Connecticut and Maryland, Gun Control Stymied in Most States

Connecticut has become the third state since the Dec. 14 Newtown shooting to approve strident new gun control measures, joining New York and Colorado in requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases and prohibiting magazine capacities beyond 10 rounds.

Like New York, Connecticut already had an "assault weapons" ban, but lawmakers further expanded the state's definition of "assault weapon," adding more than 100 semi-automatic firearms to the list of prohibited guns.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation accused Connecticut legislators and Gov. Dannel Malloy of collusion in subverting opposition by approving a bill "assembled in secret by a small group of state legislators and that never received a public hearing."

The NSSF says that lawmakers were presented a revised bill and "had little time to even read the actual bill language" before the Senate vote on early April 4.

The NSSF maintains the rushed law is littered with "mistakes (that) ... will have to be corrected," including a procedure for licensed firearms retailers to perform mandatory universal background checks on private party transactions "that is not permissible based on federal law and regulations governing the National Instant Criminal Background Checks system As we read it, this mistake in lawmaking means that all private party transactions in the state now cannot be accomplished legally."

Maryland is poised to quickly become the fourth state to impose new gun regulations this year. On April 4, the Maryland House approved measures similar to those adopted in Connecticut. The bill is expected to be endorsed by the Maryland Senate and signed by anti-gun Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Connecticut and Maryland are among the 17 states and Washington D.C. that are considering gun control legislation during 2013 sessions, the Hartford Courant reports, noting that conversely, 26 states are seeking to liberalize gun laws.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence tabulates that more than 600 bills have been introduced to strengthen gun control in state legislatures nationwide, while about 540 bills are being considered to expand gun rights.

According to the Associated Press, these are among those states expanding gun-owners' rights:

* In Michigan and Ohio, lawmakers have made it easier to obtain a gun.

* Arkansas, Maine and Mississippi have passed laws to protect the privacy of gun owners.

* Wyoming enacted legislation allowing judges to carry weapons in the courtroom

* South Dakota passed a law authorizing school employees to carry guns on the job.

* More than a dozen other states are considering legislation that would enhance gun rights, including Texas, North Carolina, Missouri and Georgia.