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Connecticut Governor Wants Tougher Federal Laws

Dan Malloy, Connecticut Governor

By Ashley Killough, CNN

(CNN) — Two days after telling more than 20 families they had lost loved ones in one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy on Sunday urged stricter gun control legislation at the federal level.

“These are assault weapons. You don’t hunt deer with these things,” Malloy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think that’s the question that a lot of people are going to have to resolve in their own minds: Where should this line get drawn?”

Malloy said the gunman in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, used guns that had been legally purchased by his mother, who was among the dead. Police said the gunman shot his mother before killing 20 students and six adults at the school.

The suspect, Adam Lanza, was found dead next to three guns – a semiautomatic .223-caliber rifle made by Bushmaster and two handguns made by Glock and Sig Sauer, a law enforcement source told CNN.

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The Democratic governor pointed to Connecticut’s assault weapons ban but argued the lack of a similar law at the federal level makes it difficult to keep such weapons out of the state. He said manufacturers can use “descriptive terms to try to get around the limitations that are built into our statutes here in Connecticut” and added that many guns found in the state had been tracked from gun shows in other parts of the country.

“One can only hope that we’ll find a way to limit these weapons that really only have one purpose,” he told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

The 1994 federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004, and multiple attempts to renew the legislation have failed. President Barack Obama supported reinstating the law as a presidential candidate in 2008, but gun control has yet to rank a top priority on his agenda.

Since Friday’s shooting, however, Obama has signaled a potential shift in policy.

“We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” the president said in his weekly address Saturday, echoing remarks he made Friday after the tragedy.

In Congress, multiple gun control bills have been introduced in recent years, but not a single one has advanced to a floor vote.

Asked if the recent tragedy has forced state authorities to consider hiring security personnel in schools, Malloy said it was “a little bit early to say what we can take away from this” in terms of security lessons.

“This is a violent world. We are a particularly violent country within that world. If someone wants to do an act like this, they’re going to find a way to do it,” he said, pointing to the fact that the gunman “shot his way into the building.”

As families gathered at a nearby firehouse Friday to hear word on their loved ones, Malloy found himself being the one tasked with delivering the bad news to relatives of the victims. Growing emotional Sunday morning, Malloy said it was a moment “he will live with for the rest of my life.”

“You can never be prepared for that – to tell 18 to 20 families that their loved one would not be returning to them that day or in the future,” he said.

However, he added, “You go on.”

CNN’s Brianna Keilar and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

*Access additional coverage of the Conn. school shooting here …