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Fairfield County Parents Push For High-Capacity Magazine Ban in CT

Residents are teaming up with the group Connecticut Against Gun Violence to get this legislation pushed through the General Assembly.

 

Parents from across Fairfield County are joining forces with the group Connecticut Against Gun Violence to better address the question, "What can we do to ensure the safety of our children?"

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School—one that left 20 children and six teachers and administrators dead—more than 200 parents met at Westport's Christ and Holy Church on Monday to discuss how to prevent another mass shooting.

Their answer? Pass a ban on large capacity ammunition magazines in the state of Connecticut.

"This piece of legislation failed to get through two years ago, but we think the time is ripe now," Meg Staunton, one of the organizer's of Monday's meeting, said.

"Hopefully we have the numbers to bring to Hartford to show them," she added, referring to the crowd that came out to the meeting Monday.

This new coalition of parents and residents plans to march on the Capitol on March 14, which would both mark three months since the shooting and come around the time the legislation would be debated in the General Assembly.

"This is a bill that needs our support," Nancy Lefkowitz, another organizer of Monday's meeting, said. "With your continued participation, we can prevail."

Connecticut's existing gun laws are ranked the fourth strongest in the nation, according to Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence.

"We do have an assault weapons ban; we have closed the gun show loophole," he said, adding that Connecticut has a gun seizure law, relies on state background checks, requires residents to report lost or stolen firearms, and conducts background checks for gun transfers.

"But strong state laws aren't enough without federal laws," Pinciario said.

The nation must address gun violence in the United States two different ways, according to Pinciaro: through the "incredible proliferation of guns" and "the incredible firepower these guns have now."

In Connecticut, a ban of large capacity ammunition magazines would help address the latter. Connecticut is the only one of seven states with an assault weapons ban that does not have a ban on large capacity magazines, according to Pinciaro.

And as far as the proliferation of guns -- "that must stop at the federal level," Pinciaro said, adding that 300 million guns have been sold in the United States.

"It's not a single law. It's changing a culture. It's the battle fought against the tobacco industry," he explained. "That took time, but it worked."

U.S. Congressman Jim Himes, who spoke briefly at the meeting, cautioned that bringing about both state and federal regulations will require a sustained effort.

"We face a really, really hard policy change," Himes said, but added that the Connecticut's delegation to Washington, D.C. stands with the parents.

"You don't need to change your minds -- you need to change other people's minds to truly make this a national effort," Himes said.

Pinciaro believes that the start to this national effort can be successful in Connecticut.

"If you can get 2,000 mothers up to the Capitol on [March 14], they'll pass this ban," he said. "I only hope that when this news cycle ends... I hope your commitment to us doesn't end." 

David S. Brown, MD December 20, 2012 at 12:53 PM
We've had serious trouble before with "WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION' and the phrase is firmly placed in our minds to add power and understanding to our plea for assault weapon control.
S Tadik December 20, 2012 at 05:10 PM
We haven't won anything against tobacco. Farms in CT still grow it. It is still legal and the funds received from the settlement have been sucked up by the Tax and Spendocrats and redeposited into the General Fund instead of solely devoting it to antismoking legislation. Tobacco is a weapon of mass destruction, resulting in half a million deaths a year in the US. It's like fighting a major war every year but it continues to be legal. Why?
Angie S. December 20, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Such irony. The Dems tend to call for legalizing marijuana these days. Yet you call for making tobacco illegal? Why? (Don't get me wrong; I absolutely hate the stuff and find tobacco and smokers to be quite disgusting --- especially when I'm standing in line 10 feet away from an obvious heavy smoker inside a pharmacy and I'm gagging on the stench emanating from his direction; BUT, as tempting as it is, I see no constitutional way I can get these people to quit their nasty habit --- I have no right to compel them to do or not do anything.) Instead of trying to ban this or that substance or anything else for that matter, how about trying to teach the next generations that all of that stuff is pretty darn nasty, stupid, and totally NOT cool!?!? (Not to mention, teach and guide them to be responsible, law-abiding people?)
Hector Medina January 21, 2013 at 03:46 PM
The problem is not the guns, it's the culture; this "elevation of violence to a secular religion". Laws alone will NOT change a thing: The day after Cuomo enacted sweeping state gun laws in NY and after YEARS of Bloomberg's tenure and gun-control advocacy in "his" City, a 7 year old second grader was found in a Queens school to have a pistol with a loaded clip and a flare gun in his pack. V.P. Biden acknowledges that there is not enough time nor manpower to prosecute all falsifications to background check forms. Look at the speed everyone drives in the Merritt Parkway! The law says one thing; citizens, habits, and usage say another. Laws are nothing but wet paper if they are not enforced. We do not need more laws, we need better enforcement in all its aspects. And we need to change the culture. As for the high capacity magazine ban, or the assault rifle ban, they are unconstitutional. The 2nd Amendment was WRITTEN so that the citizens could defend themselves from the government, it has nothing to do with hunting, self-defense or sport. We may not like it now, but that is what was written in 1787. So, we either are Law-Abiding and Law-Respecting persons, or we are not. We need to change the culture. And we need some common sense and reasonable safety measures. Compromise and accord would go a long way. Banning and polarization will block any solution.

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