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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." 

 

Jlo December 20, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Banning high capacity magazines is akin to trying to reduce drunk driving by requiring wine glasses to be smaller. People will just order an extra glass. If anyone really thinks that an unhinged psycho with ten 10 round mags is any less deadly than the same guy with five 20 round mags then they are living in a fantasy world. It is sad that people continue to blame a machine and crucify law abiding gun owners rather than blaming the crazy people who do stuff like this. If we spent the money it will take to ban high capacity mags on beefing up school security and mental health services to weed out people like this beforehand it would save many more lives.
WIltonPride December 20, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Solutions like gun control and mental health are not mutually exclusive. Turning the school into a fortress -- what a horrible way to live. Smaller glasses might, in fact, encourage at least some people to drink less. Drunk driving is actually a wonderful analogy, because the incidence of drunk driving deaths have plummeted dramatically since laws were enacted and enforced that prohibit it, combined with a media campaign that makes driving drunk socially unacceptable. Does it stop everyone from driving drunk? No. (See Wilton police blotter almost every week.) So what. It saves lives. Beefed up mental health services is one component of the solution. Gun control is another.
Jlo December 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Not mutually exclusive at all, I think that a much more comprehensive background check/mental health check is definitely in order, and again, would be 10 million times more effective than banning black rifles or high capacity mags. Also we have anti drunk driving ads, anti abortion ads, anti domestic violence ads, anti drug ads...maybe its time for an anti mass violence campaign. As stupid as this sounds, some people do need to be reminded that shooting up a school/theatre/church/mall/etc and killing yourself is not the answer to your problems. But in the meantime all of these measures have to be effected alongside higher security at our schools and in public places. Just like after 9/11 we need to face up to the fact that this, for better or worse, is the world we live in.
Jlo December 20, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I guess my main point is that people need to think outside the box a bit here. Everywhere I look all people want to do is ban assault weapons (assault weapons are banned in CT, FYI) and high capacity mags. The 2,000 moms this guy wants would be much better served calling for stricter licensing laws, better monitoring of mental health, and national awareness of violence than just kicking the can down the road by blaming a machine and hoping it will solve all the problems.
WIltonPride December 21, 2012 at 01:16 AM
While I agree with much of what you are saying, (1) they are definitely not thinking it will solve all the problems. It is a step. A first step, a concrete step, but just one step along a path. (2) my kids don't want to attend an armed school and I will work to make sure they don't have to. Citizens of many other countries don't live in "the world we live in" and that's proof we don't have to either.
Harrison DeStefano December 21, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Jlo, I don't think anyone is crucifying responsible gun owners. This should not be a gun owners vs non gun owners debate. Responsible gun owners should and do understand the need to have responsible laws and regulations. The issue is we make it way too easy for anyone to get their hands on killing machines. Anyone. You say yourself that background checks should be in place but, thanks to the gun show loophole, they are not required at gun shows. In fact, at gun shows some dealers don't even need to be licensed. Does that sound responsible or rational? In fact the overwhelming majority of weapons used in mass killings in this country since 1982 have been with legally purchased guns. You say we have an assault weapons ban in CT and we do.. a partial ban. See wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Connecticut As for high capacity clips. It's not the only thing needed to prevent gun violence, you are right, but it's a start. The argument against a small step like this is akin to saying there will always be people who exceed the speed limit so lets just abolish laws against speeding.
Jlo December 21, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Harrison- I agree, the loopholes are BS, as is the ability the purchase long rifles without a weapons permit (the weapons permit requires a much more thorough vetting process). As for the assault weapons ban, its partial, but only because you can buy assault weapons in CT after 1) paying a huge amount for the weapon....10,000+ for the gun, 2) purchasing the tax stamp, and 3) passing an extremely thorough and personal check by federal, state, and local law enforcement...i.e. everyone from the ATF to your town's chief of police need to approve you....I don't know much about this but I gather it is very hard to actually get one. This is probably the reason why true assault weapons are hardly ever used in crimes and when they are they are illegal. I'm just trying to make a point with the high capacity magazine thing- it doesn't matter, please focus on meaningful things like applicant screening and mental health, not on magazine capacity. As a shooter I personally use high capacity mags for the range so I can spend more time shooting and less time reloading. In the gun I keep stored in case I need it for home defense I have a regular magazine because its more reliable, i.e. less likely to jam. Regular mags are also easier to conceal when I am carrying a gun on me and don't want to alarm anyone or attract attention.
Jlo December 21, 2012 at 05:01 AM
WP- I wish things weren't like this either, but they are. If it isn't homegrown terrorists it's the middle eastern variety. We live in dangerous times. You can work all you want to restrict guns but at the end of the day 99.9999% of the people you restrict will be the law abiding owners who will respect your laws even though they just want to hunt, or go to the range to blow off steam, while the other .0001% will still laugh in your face and do whatever the hell they want, unfortunately. Just remember those 99.999% never caused anyone any trouble.
R Morg January 10, 2013 at 01:56 PM
The March for Change is Thursday, February 14, 2012. Valentines Day. It will show our friends that our hearts are in the right place. We are Newtown and our prayers are with you daily as well as all victims of these senseless tragedies.

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