Governor Dannel Malloy paid a visit to New London on Monday morning, speaking in support of what he describes as his “common sense” gun control proposals.
Malloy issued his proposals last month after saying he felt a bipartisan committee set up to make recommendations on reducing gun violence in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown had been bogged down by political differences among members.
He said the proposals include strengthening the state’s assault weapons ban, limiting the size of magazines to 10 rounds, prohibiting private sales of firearms, and establishing a universal background check system for gun purchases.
Malloy said polls show a broad support for background checks and dismissed those who are protesting the measures at the Connecticut General Assembly as a minority.
“Even a majority of gun owners support what we’ve laid out in these proposals, so what you’re seeing is kind of the fringe of the fringe show up in Hartford today,” said Malloy. “We’re not going to take that person’s weapon away, but we are going to require that they pass a background check to keep that weapon.”
Malloy said the AR-15 assault rifle used in the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School is currently legal in the state, but would be forbidden under his proposals.
“Even though we have an assault weapons ban, it was drafted in such a way that you could drive a truck through it,” he said. “And what they’re protesting in Hartford today is that we now have a definition that you can’t drive a truck through it. That’s what’s going on.”
Malloy’s visit came a day after the conclusion of a gun buyback program in New London. The effort collected 255 firearms from 159 residents over the course of two weekends in exchange for $20,875 in prepaid credit cards purchased through donations from civic and religious groups as well as private donors.
Finizio said one goal of the program is to reduce gun violence in the city.
“I feel that buyback programs are one small step to do that,” he said. “Admittedly they are only one piece of the puzzle, but we need to do everything we can.”
Finizio also spoke in favor of Malloy’s proposals.
“When you look at any responsible on these issues, when you look at the details of these proposals, they win broad support, even among law-abiding gun owners,” said Finizio. “And I think the governor’s put forward a very common sense of proposals, and I think they should be enacted and I think they will be enacted.”
Acting Police Chief Peter Reichard said New London does not see as much gun violence as larger cities in the state, and usually handles a couple of shots fired calls each week. However, he said he supported the buyback as a way of preventing firearms from falling into the wrong hands through theft.
“I think that program prevents these guns that are legal, that legal owners have, it prevents them from getting on the street for illegal means,” he said.
Malloy has also visited Stamford and Bridgeport to speak about his gun control proposals. He said state legislators are considering the measures and hoped that they would be passed without delay.
“I’m just trying to keep this hot, on the burner and on the front of the stove,” he said.