Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie file photo
House Majority Leader Matt Ritter (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT — House Majority Leader Matt Ritter wants 34 state legislatures to vote to open a constitutional convention to change the U.S. Constitution to ban “assault-style firearms.”

Ritter said he’s asked his staff to investigate the process for convening a constitutional convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban the rapid-fire weapons used in recent shootings over the weekend.

“Mass shootings are not going away,” Ritter said. “I believe we have a better chance of getting 34 states to vote for this than we do passing a bill in Congress.”

The U. S. Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures.

Republicans control 30 state legislatures and Democrats control 18. In 21 states, there are both Republican governors and Republican-majority legislatures. Democrats have full control of the Legislative and Executive branches in 14 states.

“This is a national crisis that demands action,” Ritter said.

At the same time, he understands the task is Herculean.

“It may be a tall order to get two-thirds of the states to call for a constitutional convention, but this may be just the rallying point we need to re-energize the debate and break the gridlock,” Ritter said.

Second amendment supporters are skeptical of Ritter’s ability to pull this off.

“Representative Ritter will likely have his hands full trying to convene state legislatures for his purpose.,” Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said. “There are several movements already in existence pushing efforts for one purpose or another.”

“Politicians in Connecticut should be wary that a majority of the states do not support gun control, if a convention were to take place. We Americans would likely end up with a stronger and more favorable document that supports gun ownership.”