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Gun Owners Return For Hearing

by Hugh McQuaid | Mar 14, 2013 6:30pm
(19) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Public Safety, Newington

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Joe Hriczo

The Public Safety Committee heard testimony Thursday from a predominantly pro-gun crowd during an all-day hearing on about a dozen proposed gun control bills.

Like the public hearing convened in January by a task force on gun violence prevention, the majority of the public testimony entered Thursday was in opposition to stricter gun control. Of the more than 190 people signed up to testify as of around 2:30 p.m., only 22 planned to speak in favor of legislation.

Despite continuing bipartisan talks between leaders on emergency certified gun legislations, the Public Safety Committee has moved forward with its own legislation. The committee has until March 21 to move legislation out of the committee.

Much of the opposition was directed a S.B. 1076, a broad piece of legislation, which includes many of the proposals under consideration by legislative leaders. It includes language that would expand the number of guns prohibited under the state’s assault weapons ban.

Several members of the public thanked lawmakers for holding the hearing, but some came with a political warning, that they would try to unseat lawmakers who vote against their interests.

Joe Hriczo, a gun owner and resident of Bolton, told lawmakers he was keeping track of lawmakers’ positions on the issue and was planning to do campaign work during the next election cycle.

“You people are really underestimating the amount of blowback you are causing,” he said. “I’m empathetic. I was a registered Democrat. I voted for Obama the first time.”

About eight hours into the hearing, Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford, accused some of the people testifying of threatening lawmakers, who were still trying determine whether they supported the legislation.

“At the end of the day we’re going to make the decision and maybe you like it and maybe you’re not,” she said, adding that residents could vote against lawmakers if they wanted. “But I don’t think that it’s fair, that right now when we don’t know what we’re going to do, that you guys come here and threaten us.”

Many people said the bills the committee was considering would not have prevented the events of Dec. 14, when a gunman murdered 20 first graders and six educators at a Newtown elementary school.

Two representatives of the National Rifle Association told lawmakers that addressing school security and fixing the mental health care system should be the focus of the legislature’s response to the shooting, rather than gun control.

Hugh McQuaid Photo NRA liaison Anna Kopperud said the discussion has been going in the wrong direction in the three months since the shooting. She said the state does not need more gun laws.

“Let’s face it. Some of these proposals fall just short of melting down all the guns in the state,” she said.

Rep. Daniel Rovero, D-Dayville, said lawmakers weren’t proposing legislation because they wanted to take away guns from citizens.

“To be honest with you, while I don’t to take away guns from any law-abiding citizen, I don’t want to see anymore death in the state of Connecticut, or any place else if we can help it. I want you to realize… If there’s a way that we can save someone’s life, I want to sit here and see,” he said.

Though opponents the legislation outnumbered proponents at the hearing, Connecticut Against Gun Violence Executive Director Ron Pinciaro said support for stricter gun control has been “growing exponentially” since the Newtown murders.

“There is a lot of concern on the part of the people of Connecticut on this issue, who want reforms in this area. Fifty-five hundred of them showed up at our March for Change on Feb. 14 and our group has grown by 35,000 since Dec. 14,” Pinciaro said.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of employees of Colt Manufacturing flooded the Legislative Office Building carrying signs reading “Save our Jobs.”

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(19) Comments

posted by: tmzphoto | March 14, 2013  8:23pm

With all due respect, would Rep. Gonzalez please explain how reminding public officials that their actions can have repercussions come election time constitures threatening?  Need we remind the legislators that they are public servants and work for us, not vice versa?

posted by: Noteworthy | March 14, 2013  9:32pm

The legislators don’t like being threatened, don’t like the prospect that this will so enrage people they will work to unseat them. Too bad. None of these laws have anything to do with Newtown. Failing to address the real problem while making the lives of honest, law abiding citizens more expensive, more restrictive, more miserable has consequences and should. To think otherwise is arrogant as hell.

posted by: sightover | March 15, 2013  8:08am

newsjunkie team: You folks are some of the best non-biased, old-school journalists around but PLEASE stop calling these people “Gun Enthusiasts.”

Would you call pro-choice demonstrators “Abortion Enthusiasts?” How about Rosa Parks a “Bus Riding/ Motorsports Enthusiast?”

This is a very serious civil liberties issue about a fundamental human right.

No matter how outdated it is portrayed in the smarmy, caustic popular culture of 2013 America, the right to bear arms transcends a hobby in which people are “enthusiasts.”

Thanks for your otherwise high quality journalism. It is much appreciated.

posted by: bgmg | March 15, 2013  8:11am

As always the elite do not like the thought that there lic. to steal and control the people jobs could be lost over what they know are laws that will do noting to stop anyone wanting to do harm to the public.

Not one of these new laws would have stopped the Newtown shooting.

posted by: Ihd | March 15, 2013  8:21am

“Gun enthusiasts”?
You’re letting your bias shine through.
How does “abortion enthusiast” sound to you, if the article was about abortion rights?

posted by: CTResidentForLife | March 15, 2013  8:25am

What the anti-gun politicians and Governor are doing seems so disjointed.  There is this “rush” to jam a bill through committee, yet the last time we had a mass murder like Sandy Hook in Connecticut was when?  Is there some militia that is threatening the DEMOCRATS so they need to pass something yesterday?  Why not examine and enhance security in schools and work on mental health issues and god forbid, fix this problem the right way?

My instinct tells me these ideologues will just pass this piece of minutia and then when some mentally ill person kills more people with a 10 round clip or a gun they didn’t ban, they will simply try and ban that because they never fixed the problem in the first place. They will have nobody to blame them except themselves.  Where does it end?  The politicians are being told quite clearly what the problem is, yet it’s like they are deaf and just want to run with their left wing agenda.  Why do we even have a constitution if the Democrats always ignore it and try to get around it? What they are doing is like when having a leaking roof; they are just telling people they can’t use the house instead of simply fixing the roof.  They should focus on mental health and implement better checks when people try to obtain guns and look into school security.  S.B. 1076 is yet another example of poor legislation that misses the mark.  These Democrats and the Governor just do not get it.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | March 15, 2013  8:57am

Noteworthy-
The legislators are not being threatened. They are being told that they will be held accountable for their positions and voting.
The just reminds me of the fight for marriage, where the majority held for keeping the definition and Lawlor and Mcdonald forced on the state anyways.

posted by: sparkplug | March 15, 2013  9:28am

It’s sad that some of our elected officials view themselves as elitists instead of humble public servants. Only kings and tyrants become outraged when their leadership is questioned.

posted by: Christine Stuart | March 15, 2013  9:29am

Christine Stuart

I didn’t think the word “enthusiast” carried a negative connotation. What if I had said “Second Amendment Enthusiasts”? Or should I just change it to “Gun Owners” or “Second Amendment Supporters”?

posted by: GuilfordResident | March 15, 2013  9:44am

I don’t like the term “Gun Enthusiast”. I own for protection and I am not enthusiastic about this. I’d prefer not to own guns but home invasions do occur and I will do everything I can as to not be a victim.

posted by: Christine Stuart | March 15, 2013  9:45am

Christine Stuart

I changed to “Gun Owners”. Thanks for your input.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 15, 2013  10:05am

I’ll threaten them.

On July 2nd, 2008, Obama delivered a speech in Boulder, Colorado in which he promised the creation and establishment of a “Civilian National Security Force.” He further promised it would be “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the US Military.”

This is not a lie, nor did he lie to us because he is doing it. The video appears on You Tube.

The DHS has acquired 2700 armored personnel carriers for use in the US, 9000 FULLY AUTOMATIC personal defense weapons, and around a billion rounds of ammo most of which is inappropriate for target practice. Even Forbes magazine reported this the other day and said this is very serious and we need a national conversation.

So here is my threat. You can vote on these bills however you want and I will make whatever decision I want to on supporting you or supporting your opposition.

If you pass these bills and then the Federal govt ever does something stupid to American citizens involving what I just desribed DHS has, then I would have no choice but to assume that you supported this and you will be treated as someone who has committed treason against the United States.

It’s not 1994 legislators with an assault weapons ban. Something else is going on at the Federal level in 2013 that seriously concerns millions of highly educated law abiding citizens and you had better be on the right side of that issue.

If we sign on to the UN Small Arms treaty then I will also assume you to be an enemy of the United States since you support this kind of garbage.

Let me also state that as an elected official if you try to threaten us by saying that telling you we will vote against you or work against you is a threat against you, it is actually a threat against us and the way democracy works.

posted by: dano860 | March 15, 2013  11:08am

Christine, good call, thank you. I am a gun owner, user and supporter of the Constitution but if I had to attach the “enthusiast” moniker to my name it would be, “motorcycle enthusiast.” I was a MSF/DOT motorcycle riding instructor for 13 years & own 8 or them. I own 4 firearms too.
I had to take sometime to mull over a few thing s that were said yesterday. One statement by Dannel to the owner of Stag Arms at the meeting in New Britain and another made on a post here.
The post comment was how the manufacture of the AR15 would continue to be legal in the State but ownership would be illegal. Does that mean that we as residents are good enough, smart enough, well enough or responsible enough to own a product of our own State?
Dannel’s comments to Mark Malkowski were ludicrous. Malloy stated that “some weapons are inherently dangerous” and have the “capacity to kill or maim large groups of people at one time.” 
This was in response to Mr. Malkowski’s question, how does a cosmetic feature make a firearm more or less dangerous? Roller skates are inherently dangerous, cars are inherently dangerous, motorcycles are inherently dangerous…and the list can go on forever. I have said before, these ‘features’ are ergonomic features for the most part.
I think that Dannel was told by the President that he MUST pass a ban on certain firearms knowing full well that the Fienstien Firearms Fiasco would never pass, again,  at the Federal level. I believe that the President said to Dannel if it can’t be done in Connecticut it will never be done anywhere.
I feel that Dannel will continue to pander to the hedgies, drug labs and other white collar business’s but he could care less about the ‘low life firearm owners’ or blue collar worker.

posted by: Quiet eye | March 15, 2013  11:11am

If the Democrats get away with trampling on the 2nd Ammendment and the Ct. Connecticut Constitution Article 1 Sec. 15.  then whats to stop our legislators from banning certain books and TV stations. Or limiting the 4th Ammendment right to only certain citizens.  If the gun ban passes, it will be a Supreme Court case for sure. Lets face reality. Humans have been killing other humans for centuries.  Banning guns does not solve that moral/ethical reality. Unfortunately our legislators can’t philosophically deal with that issue, so the easiest way out is to deal with it at a primitive conceptual level. Take away something that looks scary. Even if it takes away the citizens right to self defense and defense of property.  So basically the citizen winds up with no rights at all in the end.

posted by: Ihd | March 15, 2013  1:44pm

Christine Stuart, thank you for listening, and changing the title.

posted by: halifax | March 16, 2013  8:30am

halifax

JoeBigJoe, This battle is tough enough without your bringing in foolish lies like Obama establishing a civilian security force. That Teabilly myth has been thoroughly debunked:

http://www.factcheck.org/2008/11/obamas-national-security-force/

Try to keep it together and stay on task, Sport.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 16, 2013  1:31pm

Halifax you are sick. You are really sick

Read the latest issue of Forbes magazine where they have expressed concerns about this.

posted by: sparkplug | March 16, 2013  1:50pm

Halifax,

How can you with a straight face suggest that factcheck.org, a product of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, is an “objective source” for anything? It would be analogous to a pro-gun advocate suggesting that the Michigan Militia is an objective source for pro-Marxist fact checking.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 16, 2013  1:59pm

Here you go Halifax. Right from your own link.

We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.

We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.


Hmm, I thought we had police, FBI, ATFE, state troopers etc.

Why have they bought a billion rounds of ammo for this DHS force most of it not suitable for target practice as its hollow point? Why to cover 50 states do they have 2700 armored personnel carriers with gun turrets? Why Halifax did they order 9000 weapons that they described as for personal defense that are also FULLY AUTOMATIC ?

You took a stupid question on a web site about brown shirts and gestapo and ignored the questions that Forbes magazine, Fox news and other outlets and now Congressmen and women are asking about.

God bless the Jews and others that lost their lives in WW2 but Halifax, your head in the sand approach to this is really the same type of thing that occurred in Nazi Germany. What occurred there was not one day people grabbed all the Jewish people and it was done. It was all incremental. You need to get educated as to what has happened in history in other countries and how behaviors today in the US are eerily similar.

Let me ask you this? Just so you know this is not Obama bashing I’ll go back 15 years. Are you more free today than you were 15 years ago?