HOUSE HAS YET TO VOTE
by Sharon Rondeau
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday night. The bill is being considered under “ECert,” which means that the customary period for public comment has been eliminated.
Section 63 of the bill provides $1,000,000 to a statewide firearms trafficking task force to become active on July 1, 2013. Section 66 establishes a behavioral health task force for young people ages 16-25.
If passed by both chambers of the legislature, Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) is expected to sign it.
The proposal comes in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which a mentally-disturbed young man took the lives of 20 first-graders and then himself after killing his mother. Recent reports have revealed that many firearms and other weapons were found in the home of Nancy Lanza and her son, the perpetrator, as well as information about a mass shooting at Northern Illinois University from February 2008 and two shootings in Norway in 2011.
It has been illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to own a firearm in Connecticut for many years. A card with a check enclosed written to Adam Lanza from his mother indicating its purpose was to purchase a firearm was found in the home.
New York and Colorado have passed new gun laws following the massacre at Sandy Hook, although New York’s law is facing a constitutional challenge from several plaintiffs which must be responded to by the end of the month.
One Connecticut representative wrote the following:
Thank you for reaching out to me regarding the ECert bill – SB 1160. As you may know, this bill is the result of suggestions made by numerous task forces as well as legislative committees. To start, let me tell you what I would have liked to support:
1. MENTAL HEALTH: I support the Mental Health provisions, which will create a program to be offered to local educators regarding mental health first aid. I also support the creation of a task force to further study what CT can do to improve its recognition and treatment of mental illness. I support the pilot programs that will expand community programs and I support case management and coordination for persons with mental illness who are involved in the probate court system. Finally, I support the CT Psychiatry Access Project, similar to what Massachusetts has.
2. SCHOOL SAFETY: I also support language in the ECert bill that establishes minimum security standard for new school construction and renovation, the use of Emergency Plans, best practices in anti-bullying programs and crisis management. Also, I do believe this is a priority and state funding should be allocated for school safety initiatives.
3.GUNS/OPPOSE: I do not support the expansion of the assault weapons ban, the assault weapon registration, banning adults under the age of 21 from purchasing otherwise legal items, banning the sale and transfer of magazines over 10 rounds, ammunition certificates.
4:GUNS/SUPPORT: I do support the expansion of the Firearms Permit Examiners, the establishment of a Gun Offender Registry, a study of online registration for firearm sales and permitting, increased penalties for firearms trafficking and for crimes involving firearms and additional requirements surrounding safe storage.
The way the legislature works is often complex and seems to lack common sense. I will only have a chance to vote on this entire bill, and not on the pieces I would have liked to support. (unless we can get amendments to the floor, then I might be able to vote on pieces of the bill). The E-Cert process does not require a public hearing, and I think a bill of this importance should have had a public hearing.
After months of discussions, and after truly weighing every piece of information I have been provided, I will vote no on the bill. I do not think the criminals will follow the new gun laws, and I think law abiding gun owners will suffer and in some cases be turned into criminals. I hope you will understand the due diligence that I have given this sensitive issue, and I hope you will support my decision to vote against the bill. Thank you for writing to me.
As of press time at 9:55 p.m. EDT, the Connecticut House of Representatives had not yet voted on the bill.
Gun-control proponents believe Connecticut has a chance to “show America the way” to amend their firearms laws. Obama, who previously said he supported the Second Amendment, plans to visit the state on Monday after visiting Colorado today, lauding its new laws which have caused two firearms manufacturers to leave the state.