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Gun groups sue to block new Connecticut gun law

A woman at a shooting range in Connecticut April 2, 2013. REUTERS/ Michelle McLoughlin
A woman at a shooting range in Connecticut April 2, 2013. REUTERS/ Michelle McLoughlin

By Richard Weizel

MILFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - Leaders of Connecticut gun advocacy groups said on Thursday they had sued to knock down a strict new gun-control law passed in April because they believed the measure would not improve public safety.

In the wake of the December massacre of 26 people at an elementary school by a gunman, Connecticut adopted a tough new gun law banning sales of the sort of high-capacity ammunition clips used in that attack as well as expanding the range of weapons covered by the state's assault-weapons ban.

The Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, one of the groups that brought the lawsuit, argued that the law violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms, and that it would not have stopped the brazen attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"This law will do nothing to prevent tragedies or solve the problem of crime committed with guns," Robert Crook, a 75-year-old hunter who serves as executive director of that group, said on Thursday. "Instead of violating constitutional rights, we need to get serious about addressing violence and mental illness."

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport on Wednesday, seeks an injunction to stop the law from being enforced.

It argues that the measure was drafted "in a hasty response to the tragic mass shooting in Newtown."

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepson defended the new law.

"Our office will review this complaint and respond in court," Jepson said. "It is our belief that this legislation is lawful, and the Office of the Attorney General is prepared to vigorously defend the law."

Maryland and New York also adopted tougher gun-control measures in the wake of the Newtown shooting.

Last week a group of Colorado county sheriffs sued to block gun restrictions that state passed in the wake of a mass 2012 shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. The lawsuit argued that the sheriffs did not have the resources to enforce that law.

(Editing by Scott Malone)

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