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Connecticut Reaction to Obama Gun Control Proposals

The president unveiled a sweeping number of proposals Wednesday designed to curb gun violence. What's your take?

 

President Obama on Wednesday unveiled what is being called the most ambitious gun control agenda in decades,  initiating 23 separate executive actions aimed at curbing what he called “the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” according to The Washington Post.

According to the White House fact sheet, Obama’s plan includes:

  • reinstating and strengthening the assault weapons ban,
  • restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines,
  • getting rid of armor-piercing bullets,
  • ending a freeze on research into gun violence,
  • providing additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime
  • calling on Congress to pass a $4 billion proposal to help communities keep 15,000 police officers on the streets, as well as new gun trafficking legislation that would “impose serious penalties on those who help get guns into the hands of criminals".
  • Making schools safer by giving communities the opportunity to hire up to 1,000 school resource officers and school counselors.

Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, who is chairing the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, formed to draft policy changes in the wake of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook School shooting, said he would defer comment on the president's recommendations.

"As we are starting to meet next week, I don't want to go into it having an agenda pinned to me either for or against anything," he said Wednesday afternoon. "I want to try to keep things even so I will give an official 'no comment.'"

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released the following statement:

“In the hours after the worst of our fears were confirmed, in the midst of the grief and sorrow over the loss of 20 innocent children and six dedicated educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there was one question on the minds of people across Connecticut and around the nation: How do we make sure this never happens again? 

“Today the President took the critical first step toward answering that question.  The common sense measures he proposed today are something that we should all be able to agree on, and I want to commend him and the Vice President for their work on this issue.

“I have no doubt that, state by state, we will deal with the issue of gun violence.  Over the coming months, I will do everything in my power to make sure that Connecticut is a national leader in preventing gun violence.  We will take steps to make sure that our gun laws are as tight as they are reasonable, that our mental health system is accessible to those that need it, and that our law enforcement personnel have all the tools they need to protect public safety, particularly in our schools.

“But we can’t go it alone.  We need leadership at the federal level, and for the first time in a long time, we have it. 

“We will not be able to stop gun violence completely, but we can make our country and our children safer.  We owe it to them, and to all those lost in Sandy Hook, Aurora and every other city that has lost someone to gun violence, to try.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) released the following statement:

These are strong recommendations, and Congress should act on them now—before another mass tragedy occurs. If assault weapons and high capacity magazines were not so readily available, I am convinced there would be more little boys and girls alive in Newtown today. If background checks were universal, our city streets would be safer. There are no longer any excuses for inaction. If the horror of Sandy Hook doesn't move Congress to act on common sense gun laws, I have no idea what will. I’m so appreciative of the leadership of President Obama and Vice President Biden on this issue, especially their willingness to involve the Sandy Hook parents and families in this effort. Now, it’s time to get to work.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) released this statement:

This afternoon DeLauro will co-chair a hearing, “Gun Violence Prevention: A Call to Action,” where she and other members of Congress will hear from a panel that has real-life experience with gun violence. She is also a member of the House of Representatives Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention.

The plan President Obama announced today is a strong first step, but now Congress needs to take action.  Several critical ideas the President outlined, such as closing background check loopholes and banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines need legislative action to be reality.  We should waste no time moving forward on these proposals.

And the Presidential Memorandum signed today directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the causes and prevention of gun violence is great news for our researchers.  For 15 years Congress has intimidated them into turning a blind eye to the research that could help us understand why gun violence happens, and stop it from devastating the lives of too many families.  As the senior Democrat on the subcommittee that funds the CDC, I will do everything in my power to make sure these arbitrary restrictions are history.

Finally, I am especially pleased that he included making additional mental health resources available a major part of his proposal, particularly to train mental health professional to serve students and young adults.  Eighty percent of adults and 67 percent of children who need mental health services do not receive treatment.  This must end and I look forward to making these proposals a reality. 

President Obama outlined an expansive plan, and that is exactly as it should be, as there is no single solution to stopping gun violence. Between the slaughter of the innocents that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School just over one month ago and yesterday at noon, 917 Americans were killed by guns.  Those 917 families, along with the ones at Virginia Tech, Newtown and Aurora, need us to act now.


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