As state officials across the country grapple with how to prevent mass killings like the ones at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, some are turning to a gun-seizure law pioneered in Connecticut 15 years ago.
Connecticut’s law allows judges to order guns temporarily seized after police present evidence that people are a danger to themselves or others. A court hearing must be held within 14 days to determine whether to return the guns or authorize the state to hold them for up to a year.
The 1999 law, the first of its kind in the country, was in response to the 1998 killings of four managers at the Connecticut Lottery headquarters by a disgruntled employee with a history of psychiatric problems.
Indiana is the only other state that has such a law, passed in 2005 after an Indianapolis police officer was shot to death by a mentally ill man. California and New Jersey lawmakers are now considering similar statutes, both proposed in the wake of the killings of six people and the wounding of 13 in May near the University of California at Santa Barbara by a mentally ill man who had posted threatening videos on YouTube.