Many legislators spoke of balancing the rights of gun owners with addressing the horror of the Sandy Hook shooting. They’ve received thousands of emails and phone calls urging them to vote for or against the bill.
“The Sandy Hook killer committed countless crimes on Dec. 14,” said Rep. Rob Samson (R-Wolcott). “Do we really think adding any more laws to our books would have stopped him?”
“Nothing would make me happier than if this bill solved all of these issues, but in my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that is the case,” said state Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield.)
“You are punishing the wrong people,” added state Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford.) “The premise is wrong.”
But others disagreed.
“There is nothing in this bill that should be seen as improperly infringing on the rights of legitimate gun owners,” Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-New Haven) said.
Veteran Sen. Joan Hartley, a Democrat, said she’s never seen a more polarizing issue at the state Capitol.
Gun rights advocates who greatly outnumbered gun control supporters in demonstrations held earlier in the day at the Capitol railed against the proposals as misguided and unconstitutional, occasionally chanting “No! No! No!” and “Read the bill!”
“I’m here because I’m concerned about encroachment on our Second Amendment rights,” said Michael Hagen, who opposed the bill.
“We want them to write laws that are sensible,” said Ron Pariseau, of Pomfret, who was angry he’ll be made a felon if he doesn’t register his weapons that will no longer be sold in Connecticut. “What they’re proposing will not stop anything.”
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, who helped craft the bill, said he realizes the gun owners are unhappy with the bill, but he stressed that no one will lose their legally owned guns or magazines under the legislation.
“We did our job. We did it together,” he said. “We did the best we could and I think we did a good thing.”
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