Connecticut Needs A Measured Response, Not Knee Jerk Proposals

Connecticut must take a measured, informed approach in addressing issues of gun regulation.


The budget instability continues to loom over the Capitol, and the latest revenue reports show that our deficit continues to grow as revenues decline. The current debate, however, has focused around gun control legislation.The leaders of the House and Senate have come together to form a bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety to study the issue.  I am hopeful that this task force will be thorough in its review and propose meaningful legislation that will improve public safety and school security. Our discussion cannot be limited to merely gun control, but must include a dialogue on school safety, state resources for school safety and mental health support.

In this long session, legislators can propose their own bills. I have refrained from proposing anything on this issue because I believe it is imperative that we first take a comprehensive look through this commission process.  I believe it is detrimental to the process to make hasty or one-sided proposals that may upset the public and create media headlines.  We need to come together as a state to collectively solve this problem.

One proposal, which seeks to ban all guns that are not single-shot, has only served to galvanize opposition and bring the debate to a justifiable concern that government is attempting to trample on the 2nd Amendment and infringe on individuals' personal property rights.  This proposal should not be the starting point in a dialogue for responsible gun control measures, and it's unfortunate that anyone would propose it in the first place. Connecticut has one of the most restrictive and comprehensive gun control laws in the country already.  Further restrictions might sound like an easy solution, but if we are no safer as a society, we've accomplished nothing.

Yet another proposal would be to publish the names and addresses of individuals with legal gun permits. Again, I think this proposal is misplaced frustration that does nothing to forward the shared goal of making our state safer.  To the contrary, this type of information in the hands of criminals will serve like a menu list of which homes they may choose to rob.

The lawmakers who comprise the task force consist of Democrats, Republicans, city and small town legislators, and legislators who are mental health advocates and sportsmen.  I believe they will inevitably look at all of the issues and not only limit themselves to gun control debate.  For instance, 44 states in the union have outpatient commitment services for mental health.  Connecticut does not. We must begin to tackle the difficult challenges for proper treatment and support of mental health patients. 

While our schools regularly practice fire drills, lock down drills and all have emergency plans; no one could have fathomed the atrocities that occurred in Newtown.  Our debate must turn toward making our schools more secure. Simple measures, like ensuring the performance of lock down drills, may help and will be explored by the task force. 

The tragedy in Sandy Hook truly escapes reason and explanation. We are all looking to make sense of what happened- to discover a motive that will provide us, more importantly the victims' families, some bit of closure. I fear it will never come. Additionally, we are looking to find solutions that will provide us some comfort that there will never be another Sandy Hook. Sadly, I fear this too is futile.  That does not mean we cannot do better. We can, and will, improve.

The legacy of Sandy Hook needs to be a meaningful one; it cannot be a hodge-podge of policies that we haphazardly pass in knee-jerk fashion that serves only to assuage our societal guilt. Our response should be thoughtful, measured and, most importantly, meaningful. After listening to legislative leaders that have formed the task force, both Democrat and Republican, I feel confident that is the response we will get.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rep. Vin Candelora January 25, 2013 at 04:02 PM
The task force has scheduled a series of public hearings specific to each working group. If there is a specific topic of importance to you, please attend the public and/or submit written testimony. The schedule of the Public Hearings is below: Gun Violence Prevention Working Group Public Hearing Monday, January 28th, 2013 Legislative Office Building 10:00am, Room 2C Mental Health Working Group Public Hearing Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 Legislative Office Building 10:00am, Room 2C Full Bi-Partisan Task Force Public Hearing Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 Newtown High School 6:00pm You can submit testimony in person or by email by sending it to asaferconnecticut@cga.ct.gov. For more information regarding the Task Force and scheduled public hearings please visit the website located at http://www.cga.ct.gov/asaferconnecticut/. If you have questions regarding the public hearing or any other issue relating to state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office by calling (860) 240-8700 or sending an email to Vincent.Candelora@housegop.ct.gov
Tom Scelfo January 26, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Once again, Vincent Candelora's article is thoughtful and logical. It's no wonder he ran unopposed in his last re-election. Our state and federal fiscal situations are both a mess, but the Newtown tragedy will, unfortunately, take up a lot of our politician's time in Connecticut as well as in Washington, partially because it is a great platform for discussion in the media. I understand the valid desire to address a problem, but I fear that any amount of legislation will not prevent the one person in 300 million from finding a way to cause another tragedy and then commit suicide so that we can never truly understand that individual's true motivation for committing the tragedy. Yes, we should discuss and debate the situation and attempt to make things better, but regulation inevitability impacts law abiding, mentally stable individuals who pay attention to legislation and regulation, while criminals and mentally unstable individuals will not be affected....unfortunately, they will find a way to accomplish their goals.
Joan January 27, 2013 at 08:16 PM
If only a teacher had a gun it would of been a different story. So much for gun free zones. Finally a oolitician with some some common sense not some hysterical rant from someone who knows nothing about guns, how they function and just wants to shamelessly exploit these kids deaths for their old time agenda. Gun control never works. The assault wepons ban was in full effect when Columbine happened. Focusing on gun control wont solve anything it will just invite another shooter someday. Cops or retires cops should be in all schools .Very simple. Sandy Hook would never of happened if one was there. Arent our kids worth it? The kids wont even know hes armed and this is being done already all across the country. Mental health issues are the really problem here. A mentally ill young man stole his mothers gun and killed her. No law will stop that. He should of been identified years ago and treated peoperly not pumped full of mind altering psychotic drugs. If you want to make our kids safe focus on the big picture. Hysterical moms screaming unknowlingly about guns wont change anything. They arent going anywhere. Hopefully theres some more grown ups like Candelora in Hartford .
Joan January 27, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Hes writing about his own opinions so of course he uses "I". As In "I" believe your an idiot lol.
Nate A. March 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM
I have to say that I am seriously impressed with Representative Candelora. No laws will prevent domestic terrorists like Adam Lanza from accomplishing their mission of destruction and terror. The CT Senate Democrats are trying to make this a media feeding frenzy and the carcass that is being left behind is both our State Constitution and our Federal Constitution. We all live in a veil of safety that bullets pierce easily. I applaud this representative for having a lucid response to the political grandstanding the Democrats seem to be so happy to pull ever since shotgun Joe came to town to pat them on the heads for trying to take away our civil liberties.


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