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Senate gun safety legislation deal is reached, Connecticut's Chris Murphy says

J. Scott Applewhite

Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators said the state would benefit from the first major federal gun legislation in decades that’s expected to pass in Congress this week.

Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumethal were among the 10 Democrats who negotiated the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act with 10 Republicans. Connecticut has some of the toughest gun regulations in the country, but the state would still benefit from the $15 billion in the bill for mental health services, Murphy said.

“We are going to build out a new national system of community behavioral health clinics," he said. "Connecticut would get some of that money. We are going to invest billions of dollars on school-based mental health. We are going to send money to community gun violence initiatives."

Passing the bill with broad bipartisan support will send a message that lawmakers are now prepared to deal with gun control for the first time in decades, he said.

“When Republicans see that the sky doesn’t fall when they vote with us on measures like this, they will come back for more," said the senator, who has pushed for stricter federal gun regulations since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown 10 years ago.

The bill doesn't do everything Murphy wants, but it's the most significant anti-gun violence bill in 30 years, he said.

Other provisions criminalize the straw purchase of guns and provide for stricter regulation of federally recognized gun dealers. That would make it harder to traffic guns across state lines, Blumenthal said.

“[It's] stopping the flow of that iron pipeline from other states that causes chaos and mayhem in our streets,” said Blumenthal, who’s also been advocating for tighter federal gun regulations since the Sandy Hook shooting.

The Senate is expected to take action on the bill this week. It would then go to the Democrat-controlled House, where it's expected to pass.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.