“WE WANT A BILL, AND WE WANT IT NOW”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 14, 2013) — The Connecticut Secretary of State’s office has told The Post & Email that approximately 5,500 people turned out in Hartford, CT to lobby the legislature to enact stricter gun control laws two months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown which left a total of eight adults and 20 children dead.
A group organized by two mothers from Fairfield County, which includes Newtown, reportedly galvanized citizens favoring firearms restrictions to participate.
Secretary of State Denise Merrill addressed the attendees on the steps of the Capitol, stating, “I stand here not because I’m Secretary of the State; I stand here because, like many of you, I am a parent…and I have had enough.” The crowd applauded and chanted, “E-nough! E-nough! E-nough!”
Merrill said that state legislators “want to do the right thing” but that they reported that emails were “running 100 to 1” against passing a bill to further restrict citizens’ access to weapons, which Merrill characterized as against “doing the right thing.”
Although Connecticut has strict firearms laws by national standards, the city of Hartford has become the sixth most dangerous in the country. While the chances of becoming a victim of crime are reported to be one in 376 in the state generally, the rate is one in 76 in Hartford, which is home to the Mark Twain House and the Bushnell Performing Arts Center. The same source lists the much-larger city of Minneapolis, MN as the fifth most dangerous in the nation and the city of New Haven, CT, home to Yale University, as fourth.
“We need a vote, and you need to tell every one of your legislators, ‘We need a vote, and we need it now,'” Merrill told the crowd to more cheers. “And by the way, we vote,” she said, referring to putting pressure on the legislature. “We want a good bill, and we want it now.” The crowd responded with, “Now! Now! Now!”
Merrill said she stood “in solidarity” with those who attended the rally today.
Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, the legislature has held a number of meetings and public hearings to craft a comprehensive plan to combat gun violence.
Ironically, Hartford became a major firearms manufacturing city during the 19th and 20th centuries, and a special collection of historical firearms is on display at the Museum of Connecticut History operated by the Connecticut State Library. Colt products are still serviced in the Hartford area.
In early January, Rep. Steve Dargan of West Haven proposed overturning of the state’s law making the names and addresses of pistol permit holders private, although the bill does not appear today on a list of proposals on the House of Representatives roster.
A state senator has introduced a bill which would create a “mental health first aid program” for parents whose children show indications of mental health concerns.
After viewing the video, The Post & Email asked Av Harris, Director of Communications for Merrill’s office:
When Secretary of State Merrill said, “As you can see, your entire state leadership is behind you” at the end of the video, did that, in fact, include everyone in the legislature considered “leadership” standing behind her, or did she mean that “the leadership” was figuratively in agreement with what she said?
to which he responded:
I believe she was referring to the political leadership of the state – Governor, constitutional officers, and legislative leadership.
Our second question was:
Is it customary for a Secretary of State to make political statements such as hers?
to which he responded:
Yes, it is fairly common for statewide elected officials to attend events such as the rally this morning.
On February 5, the father of a child who was not harmed at Sandy Hook told the members of the legislature that the several bills proposed were “asinine” and read from the Connecticut constitution, then cited the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. “Legislation is not due process,” he said. In conclusion, referring to his young daughter, he said, “You will take my ability to protect my Victoria from my cold dead hands.”
Although opposed in principle to firearms, parents and the Newtown Superintendent of Schools have asked for armed guards since the children resumed school following the Christmas break. Superintendent Janet Robinson addressed a group of Democrat U.S. representatives in Washington on the same day Obama unveiled his “23 executive actions” to jump-start his plan for tighter gun control.
In neighboring New York, citizens in the upstate region have vowed to ignore new legislation, citing the need for citizen militias such as those which existed in colonial days to defend “the security of a free state.”
On January 19, approximately 1,000 Second Amendment supporters rallied in Hartford.
A poll released on January 25 indicated that guns are not considered the primary reason for violence in American society, but rather, inattentiveness on the part of parents and the difficulties encountered in obtaining services for the mentally ill.
The state of New Jersey is also considering more restrictive gun regulations.
Following the Sandy Hook attack, major media gave numerous conflicting reports, and the Connecticut State Police have provided little information to the public on their investigation. Many citizens from around the country have questioned the inconsistent reporting and Barack Obama’s response to it two days later when he visited Newtown.
The state of Connecticut is one of the original 13 colonies and is currently estimated to have slightly more than 3,500,000 people. Prior to Sandy Hook, WTNH reported that the number of gun owners was increasing in the state. A major firearms dealer told the newspaper, “People are afraid. When our economy goes bad, which it is, when unemployment is high, which it is, and people are out of work, desperate people do desperate things. And people want the ability to protect themselves.”
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.