Conn. lawmaker: New state gun laws a ‘foundation’ for nation

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) is calling her state’s new gun laws, including bans of some weapons and high-capacity magazines, a “great package of reforms” that are the “foundation of what we must have at national level.”

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Speaking Friday evening on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” Esty said it was heartening to see bipartisan support in a “big gun state.”

“I`ve been able to engage gun owners in my district who are highly supportive, particularly around universal criminal background checks for all sales and around federal felonies for trafficking and straw purchasing. They know they are essential tools for law enforcement. And face it, Rachel, if we are going to keep guns out of hands of the criminals, we have to ask who these people are when they are buying guns. It just makes sense.”

Esty said it would have been difficult for Republican state lawmakers, many of whom knew victims of the attack in Newtown, to vote against measures such as the high-capacity magazine ban.

“Eleven lives were saved by the real-life example of what happens when you run out of bullets in a magazine and in a chamber. It has real-life consequences. And so, how could those legislators look them in the eye and say, ‘I`m not doing everything I possibly can so save another family, another community from this sort of heartache?' ”

Earlier this week, National Rifle Association vice president Wayne LaPierre that there was no evidence smaller magazines would have resulted in fewer deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six educators were killed.

“People that know guns — you can change magazine clips in a second,” LaPierre told Fox News.

President Obama, who will travel to Connecticut on Monday to continue to push for gun control legislation, told donors on Thursday in California that it's "going to be tougher" to push through a gun control measure than immigration reform in coming months.

Obama made the comments a day after delivering a speech in Colorado — just miles from a movie theater where a lone gunmen killed 12 people and injured dozens of others last July — where he said gun reform is necessary to stop an epidemic of mass shootings.

"If these reforms keep one person from murdering dozens of innocent children or worshipers or movie-goers in the span of minutes, isn't it worth fighting for?"