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Advocates Get More Aggressive In Seeking Changes To CT’s Gun Laws

by Christine Stuart | Mar 22, 2013 2:20pm
(21) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Town News, Newtown, Law Enforcement, Public Safety, State Capitol

Christine Stuart photo

Neil Heslin, Mark and Jackie Barden, and Jimmy Greene, parents who lost their children on Dec. 14 come to the Capitol to speak with lawmakers

(Updated 5 p.m.) Families of some of the Newtown victims traveled Friday to the state Capitol to speak with lawmakers behind closed doors to urge them to pass laws that make Connecticut safer. Afterward, some of them spoke with reporters and appeared to be unfazed by the pace of the ongoing negotiations.

“I think they’re doing good work and it’s a work in progress,” said Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was one of 20 children killed on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Barden and his wife were two of a handful of parents who visited with lawmakers on Friday.

The families’ request to pass comprehensive legislation followed a press conference held by anti-gun groups, who were attempting to increase lawmakers’ sense of urgency about including a ban high-capacity magazines like the ones used to kill 26 people on Dec. 14.

A ban on high-capacity magazines, according to sources, has become a sticking point in negotiations between legislative leaders, who are struggling with whether to endorse an outright ban or to allow gun owners to keep the magazines they’ve already purchased.

In a letter, victims’ family members told lawmakers that newly released details of the shooting made it evident “that the 30-round magazines used by the shooter were an essential component in his ability to kill 26 innocent people in the span of less than five minutes. These large-capacity magazines required him to reload only four times during the massacre in which he was able to fire 152 bullets at the children and faculty of Sandy Hook School.”

Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said a ban on these magazines is necessary because, unlike a gun, they can’t be traced and there would be no way to differentiate between those purchased before the ban and those bought after the ban.

Christine Stuart photo

Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, at a Capitol press conference

At a Capitol press conference Po Murray, of the Newtown Action Alliance, said they don’t believe anyone except for military personnel or police should be allowed to have magazines with more than 10 bullets.

“We’re hoping compromises are not made that will result in the passage of laws that do not go far enough to protect the citizens of the state,” Murray said.

She said they learned 152 shots were fired in five minutes on that “dreadful day.”

“The need to exchange an empty magazine for a loaded one is the only reason many children from Ms. Soto’s class were able to escape with their lives,” Murray said.

That information alone should be enough to convince legislators there needs to be a ban on high-capacity magazines, Murray concluded.

But “some legislators in this building tell each other and us that they [high capacity magazines] are not a factor,” Pinciaro said.

Gun groups have argued that forcing them to give up their high-capacity magazine constitutes confiscation of property they purchased while they were legal.

Pinciaro said that since the government would not be taking the magazines for public use, it would be a regulatory taking. He said there’s no need for the government to offer compensation since owners of this type of ammunition would be given an opportunity to sell it, destroy it, or turn it over to law enforcement.

Jonathan Scalise, president of Advanced Storage Components in New Britain, said the companies he does business with have threatened to withdraw their business if Connecticut passes a law banning the magazines. Like gun manufacturers, Scalise said his business would be hurt by the move because it would lose business, not so much from magazine sales in Connecticut, but from distributors across the country. He said the expense to create a tool that would be able to stamp out a magazine with less than 10 bullets would be too great.

Asked if high-capacity magazines were a sticking point in negotiations, Sen. President Donald Williams, who has been a part of those discussions, said “we have had our ups and downs in negotiations.”

He declined to say anything more about the specifics of those discussions, but he did say Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has not threatened to veto any legislation which didn’t include a ban on high-capacity magazines. Malloy proposed a high-capacity magazine ban when he released his own gun proposals Feb. 21.

But the “silent majority,” as they described themselves, are losing patience with the lack of action on any type of gun legislation.

“Fourteen weeks without action is long enough. We need a vote,” Pinciaro said. “No legislator, no person made to feel the pain that they have felt could have possibly delayed this long.”

Nancy Lefkowitz, a founder of the March for Change group that turned out more than 5,000 for a rally at the state Capitol in favor of gun control, said she is disappointed that the legislature has failed to act because of politics and personal political agendas.

Lefkowitz said she came to the Capitol on Friday to remind legislative leadership of what’s “important” and “what it is we stand for.”

But lawmakers aren’t necessarily concerned about speed.

“When we look back a year from now, five years from now, I think it’s going to be important that we have legislation that’s as strong and comprehensive as possible,” said Williams, who met with the families Friday. “I think if it takes an extra week or two at this point . . . I think everyone will conclude that it’s worth it.”

Legislative leaders received a briefing Friday from state prosecutors conducting the investigation into the shooting.

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(21) Comments

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 22, 2013  3:14pm

Ok I don’t want this to come across as picking on the families. I pray for them

He shot 152 bullets, had thirty round magazines and reloaded four times. We have also heard that he treated it like a video game and before he went into a room dropped the magazine he had with bullets still in it and reloaded a fresh full magazine. Sorry but that math doesn’t work for me.

Also we don’t know if the kids ran out during a magazine change or a jam. I think they ran out with a jam because the mag change takes three seconds and they would not have made that decision in that time as well as successfully ran out without being shot while
fleeing. Larger magazines are more prone to jamming like with the Aurora shooter. I would stand a better chance of fighting or fleeing during a jam vs a mag change.

Mr pinciaro you have no right to take my lawfully acquired property that cost me alot of money. If you want me to hand something in as a law abiding citizen that was purchased legally then you pay for it personally. If you want me to register my guns each year then I will do so if you meet me on Country Club Road in Middletown once a year, wait in line with me and then you or your group pays for me.

posted by: ASTANVET | March 22, 2013  3:45pm

“Advocates More Aggressive” - huh, the bullying continues.  Why is it that they are the only one’s entitled to their opinion?  I am not a criminal!  You want to take guns from Criminals - go ahead! Stay away from mine - my magazines - my choice of weapons.  Why is it that everyone is pro choice until you are talking about guns, lightbulbs, fossil fuels, marriage?  What a bunch of hypocrites.

posted by: GuilfordResident | March 22, 2013  4:15pm

Having 3 kids of my own, I cannot imagine what these parents are going through. I guess you go on for the sake of your other kids ... I guess. Going after the law-abiding citizens who chose to own firearms isn’t the answer. Imo, people who suspect unsafe, illegal, or potentially dangerous situations where firearms are present need to report these situations to the police so they can investigate. As if Newtown isn’t tragic enough, we’re now pitted against one another over the actions of one person and potentially the failings of several others.

posted by: JH_1 | March 22, 2013  4:51pm

The families that lost someone in Newtown or with any other shooting are going through the worst nightmare possible, so to some extent, I understand why they’re doing all this.

Whether we like it or not, we live in a very liberal state and bans and new restrictions are going to be passed.  It’s just a matter of how restrictive will they be.

My only hope is that the legislative leaders do recognize that a high percentage of thier constituents are good, law abiding gun owners and anything they pass is truly bipartisan legislation. 

I just don’t want the government confiscating anything I already have.

posted by: Nutmeg87 | March 22, 2013  5:05pm

The VA Tech shooter shot and killed 32 people with 2 Glock pistols (No RIFLE, No “High Capacity Magazine)…  The massacre is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history… The Killer had previously been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. During much of his middle school and high school years, he received therapy and special education support…

The Aurora Cinema Killer shot and killed 12 people. He did have an AR-15 with a 100-ROUND DRUM MAGAZINE !!!  The rifle jammed just like the Newtown Killer.  He proceeded to use his pistol & shotgun. Although this killer had dyed his hair orange & claimed he was the Joker, there is no definitive evidence that he was diagnosed prior as mentally unstable.

There is NO DOUBT that the Newtown shooting is a tremendous tragedy…  But how can you say definitively that Lanza’s standard 30-rd magazine was responsible for the 24 deaths…  The Killer is certainly RESPONSIBLE…  He did use firearms THAT DID NOT BELONG TO HIM…  But how can 32 people be massacred in VA Tech by 2 pistols & 12 people massacred in Aurora by an AR-15 with a 100-rd Magazine + a pistol + shotgun VERSUS 24 killed in Newtown by an AR-15 & 2 pistols be definitive evidence that had Lanza only had 10-rd magazines less destruction would have occurred….  Maybe the better correlation is how much ammo can an individual carry without being too much of a weight burden and experience with firearms?

Can anyone use some objective thought here?  Rather than make emotionally charge decisions that are certainly political in nature and NOT SOLVE ANYTHING?  Maybe we should wait for REAL EXPERT studies and not many anecdotes and feelings…

posted by: jhly1122 | March 22, 2013  5:17pm

As the article says a HANDFULL of Sandy Hook Parents.  Do you know they have an armed person in their schools?  I spoke with someone last week from there and the Majority do NOT agree with the handful in Hartford.

posted by: peterkuck | March 22, 2013  5:40pm

How are you going to locate the arms you wish to seize?
What other rights are you willing to suspend to seize peoples firearms?
How are you going to seize those weapons which you make illegal?
Who are you going to get to collect those rifle & pistol magazines?
Will those collecting those arms and magazines give up theirs?
How will the people react to the unconstitutional seizure of their firearms?
What will you do if there is wide spread resistance?
Who will you blame if people die resisting?

These proposed laws are unconstitutional on both the state and federal levels.
In the meanwhile you will punish the innocent for the acts of the guilty.
You have repealled the death penalty in the wake of the Cheshire torture and murders without a second thought.
You have freed convicted criminals before their sentences are up.
You have provided protection to government officials who have violated your citizens civil rights
You use the Attorney General’s office to protect the government from the people.

This is no longer about a tragic murder, it is about failing to address the mental health issues that face us and the attempted destruction of the constitutional rights of our citizens.

posted by: Noteworthy | March 22, 2013  6:07pm

What’s the rush? While I feel the pain of these parents, their pain is no reason to rush through legislation that will negatively affect tens of thousands of people. That CAGV would suggest it be done is as radical as their position that Connecticut should just confiscate personal property without paying for it, not to mention their other radical proposals. I strongly disagree that the magazines or the gun are responsible. That’s a heroic leap in both logic and reality when you have certified information that this kid’s mind was sick, twisted, and untreated to any significant degree. To ignore what you can’t see and attack what you can, is misguided. CAGV is using these parents, and the blood of their children to accomplish its long stated goal of confiscation and turning law abiding citizens into potential felons at any cost. But it is unseemly to watch especially while falsely claiming to be a non-profit. It is a lobbying firm in sheep’s clothing.

posted by: Hebee | March 22, 2013  6:44pm

This tragedy was brought onto these families by one deranged, mad-dog crazy person, who was enabled by his mentally defective mother.  It is also an undisputed fact that many in the Newtown School System knew this kid was seriously mentally ill.  Yet, this Legislature has passed on the Mental Health portion of the problem because “it is too hard to get done properly in this Session.” This is an outrage and a dereliction of their legislative duties. They have failed to make time to get a Bill that could make a difference. Counting bullets won’t save a single life.

posted by: sanecitizen | March 22, 2013  7:21pm

I hope the legislators have enough common sense to see through Pinciaro’s blatant misrepresentations.

“He said there’s no need for the government to offer compensation since owners of this type of ammunition would be given an opportunity to sell it, destroy it, or turn it over to law enforcement.”

Mr Pinciaro may wish that was true, but court precedence from PA coal V Mahon has found: “..so as to deprive the property owner of all reasonable use or value of the property, it will be judicially recognized as the equivalent of a taking which may not take place without payment of just compensation to the property’s owner.”

Additionally, it’s virtually impossible now to find magazines in 10 rounds or smaller.  You create a defacto taking by depriving people of property with no opportunity to replace.

ADDITIONALLY, people have legally purchased firearms in this state that came with standard capacity magazines that hold more than ten rounds.  Some of these pistols do not offer magazines in a capacity that would satisfy the proposed legislation.

It seems pretty cut and dry.  Courts will side with the soon to be brought suits and remember to post these articles on Facebook so people know who to blame when their taxes skyrocket to pay for more poor decisions this state can ill afford.

posted by: Santa | March 22, 2013  8:11pm

Try enforcing existing laws for a change.  Kids are still getting shot on our streets where drugs are still being sold.  Be nice if they tried to stop drug sales, firearm thefts and illegal possession before making new laws.

posted by: lisalake | March 23, 2013  4:51am

It is blatantly obvious that the Newtown Alliance and CAGV have been given special treatment all along. We do live in a liberal state, but not, I suspect when it comes to gun rights. You can’t find a publication where the vast majority of comments are not pro-gun and 2nd Amendment. Even in Newtown, they have chosen to used armed guards in schools, and the number of folks obtaining new pistol permits has jumped. Like it or not, the pro gun argument has all the facts on it’s side; no two ways about it. This is not about dead children or mental health; it is all about guns. When all is said and done Newtown will not be remembered for it’s tragedy, or with sympathy; but but will be, for it’s attack against the citizens the citizens of CT, for a crime they did not commit.

posted by: bgmg | March 23, 2013  7:09am

As the article says a HANDFULL of Sandy Hook Parents.  Do you know they have an armed person in their schools?  I spoke with someone last week from there and the Majority do NOT agree with the handful in Hartford.


Funny how you only hear from the very few that feel it is the guns fault. What about the other parents that went in front of this so called commission and said they did not agree with theses bans and know that none of this BS would have made a difference.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 23, 2013  10:53am

where is my comment from yesterday sent around 530PM?

posted by: Psi Brr | March 23, 2013  11:56am

I’m ALL for a safer Connecticut, but I’d really appreciate it if SOMEONE would COGENTLY satisfy my need to know how any of this legislation, proposed or enacted, is going to make us safer. 

When last I checked, criminals don’t have any regard for the law.  It creates no impediment for criminals to get what they want, and only makes it tougher for law-abiding gun owners to purchase and secure what they want or need to adequately protect themselves.

Believe me, I am NOT insensitive to the loss these families have undergone.  I am a family man, and STILL cannot imagine the suffering the continue to endure. 

The tightening of gun laws is a knee-jerk reaction to something that appears to me to be a red herring.  A better understanding of mental health is FAR more important than laws that restrict gun purchases.

The only thing I support is background checks for all firearm purchases akin to what is currently practiced for handgun purchases.  THAT makes sense.

posted by: CT Jim | March 24, 2013  11:08am

Sandy Hook was a tragedy and still lingers in people’s minds every day. To the writer whose post says they talked to people from there and the vast majority don’t want what this group wants - well you are sick, you should seek help and stay away from any guns please. This is about coming up with common sense solutions and no I’m not going to Country Club Road to pay the fees you may have to pay anymore than I expect you to go to Wethersfield and pay my car registration. The other ones saying “try and take my guns”? You crazy people shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun. You’re either crazy or a blowhard. And lastly tell your NRA to stop calling me! I don’t believe any of their BS. I didn’t get one call from these bozos when the neo-cons passed the Patriot act which shread three amendments to the constitution without a peep from these posters. Guess the only amendment that matters to these tinfoil hat wearing crazies is the 2nd.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 25, 2013  11:02am

CT Jim, step away from the keyboard as you are the dangerous one. You are the one that evil governments love because you arent very good with facts.

Driving a car or transportation of any type is not part of the Constitution. You want to take away my right, then pay for it. Your car is a privilege.

Also with regards to the Patriot Act do you think that second amendment supporters were for it? I dont think so Jim. I was for anything that looked at the people who committed 9-11 and the common factors like Muslim and Saudi for the most part. However, the government went too far, and you and I are under suspicion, as are 95 year old grandmothers.

I love how you people cant make the connection that the government from both parties has gone too far but when we talk about government tyranny we dont know what we’re talking about.

Give me one idea of a common sense solution Jim and let’s drill down on it.

posted by: anuddaCTresident | March 25, 2013  11:36am

Thank you CTJim for that clear, concise argument to support tighter gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook.  Such constructive dialogue helps clear the air between both sides of this issue.

People who have a lot of money invested in their legally acquired guns don’t consider a de facto seizure of their property as a common sense solution. 

Nor do many of us believe that any of the very strict regulations the Governor wants to push are common sense nor do we believe they will do anything to stop future problems.

Many of us believe in common sense measures like universal background checks for all sales of long guns and handguns.  Me, I believe Sandy Hook is clearly evidence of the failure of a legal gun owner to show the proper consideration for safe handling and storage of her weapons and keeping them out of the hands of her son.  If there is anything I criticise some of my fellow gun owners for, it is a cavalier attitude towards storage.

posted by: lebron | March 25, 2013  1:28pm

Unfortunately, the more the Gun Control Advocates and the “Families” of the Newtown tragedy make demands that the Legislature “Do” something about Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines, the less I feel for the real tragedy that happened in Sandy Hook, The more they push a political agenda regardless of the legislative process, yhe more resentful and removed I feel. And I’m not the only one. This is fast becoming something a lot of people are trying to forget. And that’s really the sad part.

posted by: ASTANVET | March 25, 2013  2:38pm

CT JIM - i cannot reply in polite society or in a polite forum to your inflamatory nonsense.  Suffices to say that you can live your life however you see fit… but allow me the same courtesy.  We live under the same set of laws, what I object to is the gradualism that has proceeded all of these proposals… registration leads to one thing, and ask Janet Reno what that goal was - “confiscation” to use her words.  If you cannot connect the dots, live like a sheep - I will not.

posted by: lebron | March 26, 2013  10:02am

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Paraphrased in Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack (1738)