“GUN VIOLENCE RESPONSE CONFERENCE PANEL”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 21, 2013) — Putative Vice President Joseph Biden and other gun-control supporters are speaking at a four-hour forum in Danbury, CT today between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. EST.
Live streaming is available here, with Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal having spoken at 9:36 a.m. about “what’s in his [Obama’s] heart” following the Newtown shooting on December 14, 2012.
Biden is an admitted gun owner.
Blumenthal has proposed an “Ammunition Background Check Act of 2013” in Congress. Blumenthal said that federal laws are needed in addition to changes Connecticut might make in its laws, which are already among the strictest in the nation. Blumenthal supports the current assault weapons ban in Connecticut.
Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra decried gun violence in his city, which is the sixth most dangerous in the country.
Those opposing gun control such as lobbyists and gun manufacturers were not invited to attend the seminar, although parents and families of shooting victims were present and offered condolences by the speakers.
Captain Dale Hourigan of the Connecticut State Police said that it is the “hope of law enforcement officers” to prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands while upholding lawful gun owners’ rights.
On February 14, approximately 5,500 people gathered at the state Capitol to rally for stricter gun control in Connecticut.
The McDonnells, whose daughter Grace was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, attended the hearing, and Mrs. McDonnell addressed the crowd for several minutes.
Gov. Dannel Malloy has vowed to take executive action on gun control, because of members of a bipartisan panel who he said have “bailed out on hearings or rallies.”
His counterpart in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama, announced 23 “executive actions” on January 16.
Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, and Connecticut’s other senator, Chris Murphy, were in attendance.
Former New Haven Police Chief Stacy Spell and current “community activist” said that “a change” must be made because the days of the “Wild, Wild West” are over. New Haven is the fourth most dangerous city in the country.
Don Basile, a firearm instructor who said he is “pro-gun,” said that the availability of guns to criminals is a problem. He said “lumping everyone under the same umbrella” is not the solution.
Blumenthal said that “Connecticut is at the forefront of efforts to prevent gun violence.” However, he said, “Our laws are not enough” and touted his ammunition background check proposal. “Part of what I have proposed…is backgrounds checks” for people buying ammunition who might have a criminal or mental health history.
Basile stated at 10:02 a.m. that he understood that Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook perpetrator, should not have had access to a weapon. He suggested that the legislature “do something” to require gun owners to “purchase a gun vault.” “I think that is a reasonable approach,” Basile said. He said that a firearms task force in Connecticut “took hundreds of guns off the street” which were “a threat to society.” He then said that the legislature chose to “defund” the effort.
Spell said that New Haven and Hartford have “Shooting Task Forces,” despite their high rate of violence.
Mr. McDonnell said that “There are probably 52 sets of laws relating to guns” due to different laws in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and federal laws. He advocated “proactive measures toward gun safety.”
Matt Bennett of the “Third Way Think Tank” in Washington, DC said that more federal laws are needed, citing the Washington, DC sniper, John Mohammed, who was an alleged domestic abuser.
Other areas of the country have made the protection of schoolchildren a matter for residents of the community to carry out. Various state legislatures are wrestling with gun control proposals, including gun inspection and confiscation.
More than 200 county sheriffs have pledged not to allow any federal gun control measures which they perceive as unconstitutional to take effect in their respective jurisdictions.