9 years after Sandy Hook, ‘kids fear for their lives’ in school, CT senator says


HARTFORD — Joining gun-safety advocates before Tuesday’s ninth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy on Monday voiced rare optimism over the possibility of national legislation finally emerging from a Congress where the influence of the National Rifle Association appears to be waning.

Noting that more state legislatures around the country are adopting some of the same measures that made Connecticut a national leader in gun safety, including mandatory background checks and prohibitions on military-style rifles, Blumenthal and Murphy said the momentum seems to have finally shifted at a time when 100 people a day are dying from gun violence.

“We need to make sure that this country doesn’t lose its sense of outrage about what’s going on,” Murphy said. “This happens in the United States and nowhere else, this rate of daily shootings, all across the country. Nowhere in the high-income world do kids fear for their lives when they walk into a classroom. This happens only in the United States and it’s by choice, not by accident. We choose to have the world’s weakest gun laws.”

In 2013, less than four months after Sandy Hook, the General Assembly voted on a bipartisan basis to ban the military-style rifles and large-size ammunition magazines used in the mass-murder that stunned the nation. In 2020, 42 similar bills passed in 13 states to tighten firearms laws, and since the Feb. 14 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla, there have been 179 new state laws, a sign that change is coming, Murphy said.

“We have no choice but to persevere,” Murphy said Monday on the steps of the State Capitol during a morning news conference. The two Democratic senators recalled the stunned, tragic scene in the Sandy Hook firehouse on the afternoon of Dec. 14, 2012 as anxious parents waited to hear that their first-graders were among the 20 dead, along with six adults in the mass murder-suicide.

“I do feel that this is a question of when — not if — and although we didn’t get to the finish line this year, we got closer because Republicans are gradually coming to the conclusion that it’s better off to get something passed than to fight this movement,” Murphy said.

Murphy said the reverberations from the Newtown school shooting are still being felt at a time when gun violence continues to plague Connecticut cities, including Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven.

“Today, we challenge our colleagues in Congress to put the safety of our kids, the safety of our neighborhoods, ahead of the prosperity of the gun industry,” Murphy said. “We know this is a question of when, not if, we pass federal legislation that will require universal background checks and to get these dangerous assault weapons off the streets.”

Murphy believes gun safety will prove over time to be one of the great social-change movements in America, on par with the campaigns for civil rights and marriage equality. “Movements take time to build and to achieve ultimate victory, but the cause that we are advocating is so-righteous that we can’t fail,” he said.

“We’re going back to Washington, to say to Congress, ‘do your job,’” Blumenthal said. “That’s what the American people want.” He stressed that parents and caregivers are responsible for children, so safe-storage laws should be mandatory.

“We say to people you can keep your guns,” Blumenthal said. “We’re not taking them away. It’s a false fear.” He says there is also an opportunity to bring Connecticut’s storage law, named for Guilford teen Ethan Song, who was killed in an accidental shooting, to become a national model.

Po Murray, chairperson of the Newtown Action Alliance, said the school massacre might have been avoided if her neighbor, Nancy Lanza, had kept her firearms locked up and away from her troubled 20-year-old son who killed her first in their home, before driving to the elementary school that day.

“Those students would be in 10th grade in high school, playing in the band, playing sports, studying for their SAT tests, going home, going to proms and baking holiday cookies with their families,” Murray said. “I wish Nancy knew what I knew. I learned to shoot in sixth grade in Vermont, but I knew that a gun-free home would be the safest home for my four children.”

Included in President Joe Biden’s proposed Build Back Better legislation is $5 billion for programming to create pathways for at-risk youth to avoid gun violence.

Leonard Jahad, executive director of the Connecticut Violence Intervention Program in New Haven, who supervises outreach workers in that city’s troubled, underserved neighborhoods, said youth have to learn there are alternatives to violence, even as they recover from bullet wounds in the cycle gun use.

“It’s difficult in an urban community when we talk to the youths and they say they can get a gun before they can put their hands on a head of lettuce,” Jahad said. “Gun sales are up 80 percent since the start of the COVID. Requests for permits are up 120 percent. We have a complete culture of using guns to resolve conflict.”

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT

Source link

Articles You May Like

ILA | New Jersey: Bruen End Run Legislation Nearing the Finish Line
Oregon Measure 114 gun control challenge heard in court
Illinois lawmakers have a moral obligation to pass gun safety bill
ILA | Colorado: Broomfield City Moves to Adopt Gun Control Package to Diminish Second Amendment Rights!
Commentary: When police chiefs dial 911, law-and-order representatives need to answer


  1. 531793 735289You produced some decent points there. I looked on the internet for that concern and located most individuals goes along with along together with your internet internet site. 135801

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *