The National Safer Communities Summit, is expected to draw hundreds of policymakers, community leaders and gun violence prevention advocates from across the U.S. to commemorate the first anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
Here’s what Connecticut can expect from the high-profile event.
What is the purpose?
Friday’s summit celebrates the enactment of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act while looking to the future of gun reform.
The legislation was the first major gun safety package to pass Capitol Hill in three decades. At the helm of the historic win was U.S. Sen Chris Murphy, who led negotiations on the bill.
The National Rifle Association has publicly opposed the legislation, saying in a statement last summer that the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act could “be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians,” and “leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions — inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.”
In a Connecticut Post op-ed authored by Murphy, the senator said he believes Congress’ passage of the gun control bill last year marked “the beginning of a new decade for this movement — a decade of notching win after win at the local, state and federal levels.”
Despite the victory, Murphy said “there’s more work to be done,” and Friday’s conference is part of that plan.
“We need to make sure the law we passed last summer is saving as many lives as possible. We also need to pass universal background checks, enact a ban on assault weapons, and elect more gun-sense candidates up and down the ballot. At the Safer Communities Summit, we’ll strategize how to make it happen,” Murphy said.
Who is coming?
In addition to President Biden, the conference features U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, Gov. Ned Lamont, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Attorneys General Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Matthew J. Platkin of New Jersey, U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on its list of more than two dozen panelists and speakers.
The summit will also spotlight gun violence survivors and nationally recognized violence prevention groups including Sandy Hook Promise, Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, March for Our Lives, Students Demand Action, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Roca, Giffords, Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, Team ENOUGH, Brady: United Against Gun Violence and the Community Justice Action Fund.
Local sponsors of the event include Mothers United Against Violence, the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute, CT Against Gun Violence, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Newtown Action Alliance and Hartford Communities That Care.
What will happen?
Doors open at the University of Hartford at 8 a.m. Friday.
The morning will begin with a welcome address from Lamont and Bronin, followed by remarks from Murphy and gun violence survivors.
At 9:20 a.m., the first panel of the day will discuss the impact of Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to states to fund the creation and administration of laws, community-based violence prevention initiatives, school-based mental health services, afterschool and summer programs and school safety initiatives, among other programs.
Other panels at 10:20 and 11 a.m. will cover Bipartisan Safer Communities Act “implementation work still to come” and future gun control efforts in the “post BSCA federal landscape.”
Biden’s keynote speech will start at 2 p.m. with the conference expected to come to a close shortly after 2:30.