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With New Details, Lawmakers Look To Pass Gun Legislation Next Week

by Hugh McQuaid | Mar 28, 2013 4:48pm
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Public Safety, Newtown

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Senate President Donald Williams

After reviewing “chilling” details from the Newtown shooting investigation, legislative leaders from both parties plan to meet in private with rank-and-file lawmakers Monday to discuss negotiated gun control legislation. A vote on a bill is expected as early as Wednesday.

The movement toward a vote came Thursday after prosecutors released search warrants for the ongoing investigation into the Dec. 14 murder of 20 first graders and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown.

Legislative leaders have been working for weeks to negotiate a bipartisan bill in response to the shooting and have requested as much information as possible to inform their legislation. Leaders from both parties say they plan to meet with members on Monday.

The documents prosecutors made public Thursday confirmed much of what has been reported in the months since the shooting, and highlighted the significant number of firearms and vast quantities of ammunition to which the 20-year-old shooter had access in the home he shared with his mother.

Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said the sheer number of weapons found in the gunman’s household confirms lawmakers have been “on the right track” as they’ve negotiated what is expected to be a historic package of gun control measures.

“I think all of us know there’s always been an issue of dealing with the loopholes in our assault weapons ban and getting the weapons of war out of the hands of those who would harm our children and folks in our communities,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, said that the warrants confirmed what lawmakers already knew: the shooter was a troubled person who had access to firepower and ammunition.

McKinney said the information will help lawmakers defend their legislation against critics who may ask whether they were informed about the case when they crafted the bill.

“That’s now public, and therefore people can understand and trust that we’re operating with the knowledge of what he had at his disposal to commit these murders,” he said.

Both McKinney, who represents Newtown, and Williams have advocated for a ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines.

“There are first grade parents in Newtown whose kids were able to flee that school who believe their kids lives very well may have been spared because of the changing of magazines and the time it took to reload,” McKinney said.

As Newtown’s senator, he said he would have liked to have seen much of the information that has been publicly released remain sealed to protect the families of the victims.

“Look, this is very hurtful stuff for them. So I think to varying degrees, it just continues the pain,” McKinney said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called last week for the disclosure of information from the investigation. His request came amid criticism from lawmakers over a leak of previously undisclosed information by the state police.

But the governor, even as he called for additional information last week, said lawmakers have had enough information to pass legislation for some time.

“Listen, they knew enough, a week ago, two weeks ago, four weeks ago to take up a bill. Hopefully they’ll take up a bill,” he said.

Malloy said some of the information disclosed Thursday was difficult to understand, like why someone would keep so much firepower in a home.

“There are parts of this story that are unfathomable,” he said. “How anyone would have maintained that household, that way, is difficult to understand.”

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(9) Comments

posted by: Tessa Marquis | March 28, 2013  6:48pm

The Leadership and Legislators don’t need to be “bipartisan” - they need to be human beings.

Stop mucking around and Vote Your Conscience.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | March 28, 2013  6:56pm

“McKinney said the information will help lawmakers defend the legislation they will be voting on against critics who may ask whether they were informed about the case when they crafted the bill.”

Republican translation: “Bend Over Citizens and grab your ankles!”

posted by: dano860 | March 28, 2013  7:34pm

As I said yesterday, it will not matter what the reports contain, Dannel and Donny will be going forward as planned. They have to push for Connecticut to pass legislation that Obama wants.
Biden said it in a speech yesterday, we’re coming after your assault guns (semi-automatics), your high capacity magazines and we’re not stopping there.
They will not be happy until they decimate the firearms industry, in Connecticut, and make all the law abiding citizens with firearms criminals.
These laws will never prevent violent crime.
Obama says we shouldn’t forget Newtown. Nobody will but what happened in Newtown was not committed by a sane person. Go after the real problem…mental illness!
Even background checks won’t uncover that problem.HIPA regulations don’t allow that.

posted by: Hebee | March 28, 2013  8:05pm

This psycho was plotting a major deed for a long time under the nose of his Mom and others in town who knew this freak was a ticking time bomb. Mom was a willing accessory to 27 murders and deserves no sympathy. If she wasn’t dead, she would be spending the rest of her life in prison. This is the textbook ‘Straw Purchase” that is against the law in every State. The Mother purchased firearms for someone who was not able to buy them legally for himself (making her a felon). She lived in the house and had to know that he was dreaming about using them in the commission of a crime. She was no different than a Gang Member running guns from Virginia Gun Shows back to Hartford for his Gang. She enabled her demented son to commit multiple homicides. It she wasn’t already dead; she would have been the perfect lightning rod to bring back the Connecticut Death Penalty.

The Gun Legislation coming next week will do absolutely nothing to stop another freak of nature (like these two) from doing this same thing. The Legislative Leadership punted on the Mental Health portion of the proposed Gun Violence Legislation, which could have actually made a difference in the Newtown tragedy, because “It was too complicated”.  We deserve every bad thing we get from these idiots in our Legislature as we keep voting them back for term after term.

posted by: JH_1 | March 29, 2013  8:04am

Tessa -

Voting with your conscience isn’t the right way to go.  It doesn’t address the real issues, which everyone knows is mental illness.  You have to pass laws based on facts.

I think the background checks and the stiffer penalties on straw purchases are fine, but the ban on semi auto rifles and high capacity mags will do nothing to stop future crime.  Those two items are nothing more than long desired gun restrictions on democratic wish lists.


Finally, the general assembly should have some degree of bipartisianship.  Don’t forget, there are a lot of republicans and gun owners in this state as well.  We may not be the majority, but we too are constituants of this state and things could always change in future election cycles.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | March 29, 2013  11:52am

If we need any major changes in the gun laws it needs to be done at the national level. So let’s make the permitting process a bit more complete, address mental health issues, and move on.

Budget, jobs, economy? Anyone?

HST

posted by: ASTANVET | March 29, 2013  12:22pm

I think everyone seems to think that laws and legislative action is the solution… I think that is garbage.  You want to be safe, know your neighbors, be integrated in your community, know how to protect yourself and your family, don’t rely on government to fix everything for you… and as for “voting your conscience” they are paid representatives, they are suppose to be prudent with pushing new law, suppose to be considering 2nd and 3rd order effects, they are suppose to be defending our rights and our liberty… not being emotional or catering to a particular political ideology.

posted by: peterkuck | March 29, 2013  3:20pm

What punish the innocent due to a dead nutcase?  Toss out the state & federal constitutions with laws that were drafted long before the Newtown massacre?  None of the laws you are pushing would have stopped this.  Your closing of our states mental hospitals, the failure of your mandated reporting system caused this, along with your leaving our schools as soft targets for any nut case caused.  This tragedy was the creation of the legislature and our state government that has not and will not move on mental health issues.

posted by: Sniper | March 30, 2013  5:08am

The anti-gunners have successfully transformed the issue: what began as a look at “gun violence” is now just an effort to prevent “guns.” The medium has become the message. Like prohibition, the law will not address the “why,” and, in an exercise of pure futility, attack only the “how.” History shows that laws which do not enjoy the general support of the those affected, and which cast a broader net than necessary,fail. Laws that curtail constitutionally-protected behavior need to demonstrate that they are the least-restrictive measures necessary to achieve a narrow purpose. Next week’s laws will fail, and at the same time alienate a segment of the population which is more than ready to accept carefully-focused and effective measures to address the actual Sandy Hook problem: access to guns.