This week’s address is delivered by Francine Wheeler, whose six year old son, Ben, was murdered alongside nineteen other children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, four months ago. Now, Francine – joined by her husband David – is asking the American people to help prevent this type of tragedy from happening to more families like hers. Since that terrible day in December, thousands more Americans have died, and thousands more families have suffered the pain of losing a loved one to violence.
Tom Foley of Greenwich, who came within 6,000 votes of defeating Dannel Malloy in the 2010 gubernatorial race, and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a former member of the state House of Representatives, were asked yesterday what they thought of the details of the historic gun-control legislation. The bipartisan deal was finalized by majority Democrats and potential primary opponents of Foley and Bouhgton for the 2014 GOP gubernatorial nomination, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield and House Minority Leader Larry Cafero.
Boughton: “I haven’t seen the actual language and haven’t been briefed like lawmakers today, but a compromise where everyone walks away a little unhappy, both gun advocates and gun-control supporters, is probably a good bill. There doesn’t seem to be any money for enforcement, but having said that, with everyone a little unhappy, I would support it.”
Foley was a little more opaque, it seems. “I thought the appropriate dialogue for a response would be to limit discussion to responses that would prevent events like Newtown in the future. It’s a tragedy to politicize this. ” He said the bill would not have changed the outcome. “Emphasis should have been on mental health” and what could have been done to prevent the shooting. When asked to list items in the bill that he disagrees with, Foley said “anything that is in there that would not have prevented” the Sandy Hook School slaughter. “They’re politicizing a tragedy.”
Capitol sources who should know have said that given the anticipated length of the House debate tonight, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has set aside a noontime slot tomorrow to sign the nation’s most-sweeping gun-control bill
State Sen. Michael McLachlan, a staunch conservative from Danbury, said Wednesday he would support the historic gun control measure before the state legislature.
The massacre at Sandy Hook, he said, forced him to think differently about the gun control issue than he had in the past, noting that he had many “painful, sleepless” nights while deliberating on the issue.
“How do we address the nightmare of a madman,” he asked on the state Senate floor.
Improvements to the mental health system, must be part of the solution, he said, adding that he was disappointed the working group on mental health failed to complete their work and proposed a task force to continue the job instead.
McLachlan said he was happy that the grandfather clause was included in the legislation, allowing “responsible gun owners to keep their property that they bought and paid for.”
He added that, after consultation with legal experts, it’s that grandfather provision that will allow the legislation to withstand legal challenges.
McLachlan said he’s voting in favor of the legislation in the hopes that he is “properly honoring” the memory of Carolyn Previdi, one of the 20 students shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the great grandchild of a noted Danbury businessman.
Three members of Connecticut’s gun industry descended on the Capitol Press Room this afternoon, including Jonathan Scalise, owner of Ammunition Storage Components of New Britain (manufacturer of rifle and pistol magazines, including mags for the AR platform), Jake McGuigan, director of governmental affairs for the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation and Mark Malkowski, owner of Stag Arms (200 employees making rifles) in New Britain.
Scalise: “…The broader issue of mental health care or lack thereof in the state is not being dealt with. The reduction in the amount of hospitals with available services in the state of CT over the last 25 years is not being addressed…That’s a common denominator with these types of tragedies. That’s an issue we can all identify and I believe it to be the root cause.” His company’s 150 employees, makes 40, 30 and 20-round magazines. Tomorrow: “I haven’t had the opportunity to full review the bill and assess what exactly I can do and cannot do…how we’re going to go about sales in the state of Connecticut…All of that needs to be done, arguably, at some point today…We’re scrambling at this point… I will run my business properly and that means running it in a manner that’s healthy profitable and growing and I will do whatever is necessary to make sure that continues, where ever that may be.”
Malkowski: “The information we got from Sandy Hook at the end of the day shows a person so committed to causing pain, death, we don’t believe the firearm is the problem. We have to stop it prior to when it happens… If it comes to the point where we can’t be profitable in this state, there are many other state’s that would welcome us with open arms…”