A group of mayors and first selectmen from cities and towns across the state are taking a stand on gun violence in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Newtown.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities released 13 proposals it's pushing state legislators to pass this session during a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Wednesday morning.
The coalition, which represents the leaders of the 144 cities and towns across the state, stated all the legislative proposals are aimed at reducing gun violence.
On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother at their home, then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 children and adults.
The recommendations made by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities would include the following:
"With rights come responsibilities and this is a discussion about responsibilities attendant to gun rights," said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.
The mayors said they're not targeting anyone's Second Amendment rights, but stress something needs to be done.
"We're here because an atrocity happened 20 miles from my house. Today is my son's seventh birthday. I'm sick of people telling me that his rights to be safe takes a backseat to somebody's ridiculous infatuation with a war weapon," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. "This is not what this state is about. This state is about protecting the babies. We lost 20 futures and the families lost 20 futures."
CCM said it will be working together with the senators and representatives on the newly formed Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety Task Force to get their proposals passed.
The Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety Task Force is a panel of Democratic and Republican legislators that will be divided into three subcommittees, which will focus on gun control, school safety and mental health.
CCM also plans to work with the 16-member Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, which was established by the governor. The commission will review safety, gun control laws and regulations and mental health issues.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, which will be led by Chairman Scott Jackson, who is the mayor of Hamden and a member of CCM, will release its initial report on March 15.
"We want to make sure the mayors, first selectmen, town councils have an opportunity to directly impact the debate that's going on here in Hartford and this is our way of doing that," said Torrington Mayor Ryan Bingham.
While the mayors and first selectmen said something needs to be done. They added they'll be lucky to get a few of these proposals passed, noting the strong opposition they're already facing from gun owners and sportsmen.
"Guns are not the issue," said Robert Cook, who is a lobbyist for the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen. "That was just the tool that was used."
Cook said responsible gun owners are coming under fire, when instead the mayors should be also be looking at mental health issues and school safety.
"All these things sound good, how do you enforce them? Casuals sales and mandate the guy give a lock to the person he's selling it to," he said. "How do you enforce it? Trigger lock police? Are we going to have magazine police, assault weapon police?"
But, at least one mayor disagreed with Cook.
"We have a lot of healing here to do. Everybody in the world is shaking their heads at this incident and we're sitting around arguing over scopes and barrels and micro-stamping," Finch said. "Stop the madness, that's what we have to do. This is not about hunters and the right to bear arms embedded in our constitution that we fought wars for. This is about 20 angels that were taken from us in the most despicable manner."
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