Malloy Urges Hugs, Calls For Delay In Policy Debate; Larson, Looney Want Action
One day after terror struck in Newtown, Connecticut residents were still looking for answers as to how someone could attack an elementary school full of children. But in a televised address on Saturday afternoon, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that “the sad truth is, there are no answers. No good ones, anyway.”
“We have all seen tragedies like this play out in other states and countries,” Malloy said. “Each time, we wondered how something so horrific could occur, and we thanked God that it didn’t happen here in Connecticut. But now it has.”
“So what can we do? As was no doubt the case last night, we can hug someone we love a little tighter,” he said in a three-minute address from his office in Hartford.
Malloy, who spent the day in Newtown, acknowledged that there’s a desire by some to tackle the public policy issues surround the shooting, “but what’s important right now is this: love, courage, and compassion.”
He said too often there’s a desire to focus on what “divides us as people, instead of what binds us as human beings.”
Malloy, who didn’t give any interviews on Saturday, said that now is the time to pray.
“Let us all hope and pray those children are now in a place where that innocence will forever be protected,” he said as he ended his address.
But, earlier Saturday, that feeling of helplessness prompted at least two lawmakers to call for stricter gun control laws.
In an emailed statement, U.S. Rep. John Larson said, “To do nothing in the face of continuous assaults on our children is to be complicit in those assaults.”
State Sen. Martin Looney issued a similar statement today and vowed to fight for stricter laws.
The incident struck close to home for Larson, who is a parent and a former high school history teacher.
“There may not be a single cure-all for the violence in our nation, however we must start the process and begin the deeper and longer conversations that need to take place. Politics be damned.”
Acknowledging it may not have prevented what happened in Newtown on a crisp, sunny December morning, Larson said it’s time for members of Congress to act.
The latest reports say the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, arrived at the school equipped with at least three firearms — two handguns and an assault rifle — and forced his way into the building before murdering 26 people there, including 20 children.
Larson wants to slow the easy dissemination of firearms.
“Congress should be prepared to vote on requiring background checks for all gun sales, closing the terrorist watch list loopholes, and banning assault weapons and high capacity clips. Those measures don’t solve all our problems, but they’re a start,” Larson said.
Larson’s spokesman said he was building upon the statements made Friday by President Barack Obama.
“We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” Obama said. But he didn’t offer any specifics.
Connecticut already has stronger gun laws than many other states. Assault weapons were banned here in 1993 and the law was further strengthened in 2001. At that time, lawmakers added a broader definition of assault weapons to the ban.
The three guns found at the scene belonged to the first victim in the shooting, Nancy Lanza, the gunman’s mother.
According to the Associated Press, the two pistols were a Glock and a Sig Sauer and the assault weapon was a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle. A Henry repeating rifle, an Enfield rifle, and a shotgun were also recovered by police.
Wayne Carver, the state’s chief medical examiner, said at a press briefing Saturday that all of the wounds inflicted on the children and the six adults at the school were inflicted by the Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle. Carver said he has yet to conduct the autopsy on the shooter and his mother.
Carver said that he personally performed seven autopsies on first graders and each had between three and 11 wounds. Prompted by questions from the news media, he said most of the wounds were inflicted from a distance, but some were at close range.