Gun control advocates take on "patchwork" of state laws

(CBS News) President Obama takes his push for tighter gun laws to Hartford, Conn., Monday.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy signed into law some of the toughest gun control measures in the nation last week.

Sunday on CNN, Malloy criticized Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, for its opposition to background checks.

"Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus -- they get the most attention. That's what he's paid to do ... This guy is so out of whack, it's unbelievable," Malloy said.

Can Democrats defuse a filibuster on gun legislation?
Lawmakers get an earful from voters on guns
"60 Minutes": Newtown parents on assault weapons ban
Conn. governor signs sweeping gun limits into law

The Senate could begin debate on gun legislation when it returns to work this week. Among other things, supporters believe new laws could address the patchwork of regulation around the country, which leads to an uneven flow of firearms between neighboring states.

Joseph Curtatone, mayor of Somerville, Mass., said he knows how lethal the illegal transfer of guns from nearby New Hampshire and Maine can be.

"At least a third of the gun-related crimes in Massachusetts come from guns from those two neighboring states and that doesn't include guns that come from Georgia, Florida and California," he said.

Two years ago, one of the mayor's officers was shot by gun trafficker Matthew Krister. Detective Mario Oliveira was hit twice in the chest, twice in the stomach and once in the arm. He barely survived.

"We nearly lost him and that crime rocked this community, which is a very safe community," Curtatone said.

Krister, 21, was killed in that confrontation. He'd bought eight handguns in New Hampshire, sold six to gang members and kept two, despite the fact that Massachusetts had some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.

In 1998, when new laws were passed, 65 murders were committed with firearms. In 2010, the latest figure available, it was almost twice as many: 122, an increase of 88 percent.

The reason, says criminology Professor James Fox from Northeastern University, is inconsistent gun laws.

"Each state, to some extent, is at the mercy of other states around them," Fox said. "What we really need is some federal legislation that will guide all the states."

But Richard Nutile, who works at Lee's guns just over the border in New Hampshire, thinks new federal rules will just penalize law-abiding gun owners.

"We're good Americans," Nutile said. "The people that break the laws are criminals. So any law that you put in play is going to be broken by the people that are criminals.

Mayor Curtatone agrees -- to a point.

"We don't want take the guns away from the responsible gun owners, all those traditional sportsmen. We want to get the illegal guns off our streets," he said. "Three thousand people, in a hundred days since Newtown, have died in this country as a result of gun violence. That should shock our consciousness."