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Murphy, Himes Lead Roundtable on Gun Control

The panel met in Stamford to discuss how Fairfield County residents, community leaders and politicians can push for change to state and national legislation.

Sen. Chris Murphy and Congressman Jim Himes joined local and state politicians, law enforcement officials and mental health advocates last week at the Yerwood Center in Stamford for a roundtable discussion on reducing gun violence in the city and the rest of Connecticut's urban areas and ongoing efforts to change gun and assault weapon legislation both on the state and national level in reaction to the Sandy Hook shootings.

According to Murphy, the roundtable, which included Rep. William Tong (D-141), Stamford Police Chief Jonathan Fontneau, CT State Police Major Bill Podgorski and Sherry Perlstein, executive director of Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, would serve as a conversation starter "to make sure that the laws we pass make the likelihood of shootings [like Sandy Hook] lower" and reduce the amount of "men and women in Stamford and across this state that are gunned down."

Murphy told attendees that he believes if Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza had to stop sooner to reload his weapon, more lives might have been spared.

"Clearly, in my mind, there is no reason why anyone should have access to a military-style assault weapon or a magazine clip that holds 30 or 100 bullets," he said. "I believe in my heart that there would be little boys and girls still alive today in Sandy Hook, Connecticut if the federal assault weapons ban was still in place and if that young man re-armed himself every 10 bullets instead of every 30 bullets."

Murphy also said that if Lanza would have had access to proper mental health services, the outcome of Dec. 14, 2012 might have been different.

"We have a system that directs an enormous number of errors, especially for young adults that want to seek help and for parents that want to seek help for their children," he said. "And so we need to have a conversation about how we can better make sure that there are resources available for those who have [mental] illness and may be prone to violence."

Himes said that advocating for tougher gun control laws is a "heck of a challenge" but if politicians, community leaders and residents work together, they could have enough impact to change the legislation locally and nationally. He warned attendees, however, about the "inflamed radical other side" that believes banning assault weapons violates the Constitution and specifically referred to his challenge of Texas Governor Rick Perry's views on gun safety and ownership.

"There is the possibility of changing the discussion at the national level because, frankly, the discussion is insane... The policy is insane nationally..." he said. "Any effort to have that commonsensical discussion about whether in fact anybody needs a 30-round clip is not acceptable. And the reason that discussion is not acceptable is because if the opponents of reasonable measures to reduce gun violence are forced into a discussion that is fact-based and data driven, they have not one piece of ground to stand on—nothing."

Treating Adolescents with Mental Illness

The discussion later turned to improving and increasing mental health services for students and their families and removing the existing stigma that those suffering from mental illness are more prone to violence.

Daniella Giordano, public policy director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) CT, told attendees that the state and the country needs to start looking at mental health illness as something that not only affects those that are afflicted and their loved ones, but everyone.

"It's about our children, it's about our communities that we all deeply care about..." she said. "And, first of all, it's about stepping away from who is affected by mental health issues. It's about all of us—whether it's someone that we care about who's struggling with something—including now the people in the Sandy Hook community and everyone in Connecticut, in the nation and the world. We need to think about this differently and not make this direct connection between people who have mental health challenges and violence because that absolutely not accurate... People with mental issues are much more likely to be victims of violence..."

Mirroring initiatives in President Obama's proposal to Congress addressing mental illness, the panelists also discussed the need for fully funded community-based health centers across nation, as well as funding to train mental health professionals so that adolescents aren't placed on waiting list to be diagnosed and treated.

Frederick Klein January 23, 2013 at 07:57 PM
I will be willing to discuss these issues with you, rotty, when you are willing to be civil.
Sandra January 23, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Fredrick go cry your crocodile tears elsewhere. I referenced an attack in an elevator and you are more worried about my gun than me defending my life. I lived in NY apartment buildings and feared my life nightly so stop judging from your comfy rocking chair. And Ludlowe said "take the stairs" You guys are total hypocrites and I am glad to see people are calling you out.
Frederick Klein January 23, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Instead of doubling down, you could apologize for bringing someone's mother into a debate. That's playground behavior, Sandra. If you can't see that, you must be a real pleasure to deal with in real life, off-line. Sometimes it's time to be an adult, recognize you went too far, and apologize. But I shouldn't expect some maturity from you, so my mistake.
rottyfan January 23, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Wrong, FK. You stand on your moral high ground calling for the elimination of this or that in the Constitution because that's the way YOU interpret it. I, on the other hand, am aware that we follow the rule of law in this country. I respect the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court, whether I like them, or not.
Frederick Klein January 23, 2013 at 08:13 PM
No, rotty, you are wrong. I would like the Second Amendment eliminated because it is outdated and because of how it has been interpreted. I would prefer a statement of gun policy that is clear and relevant to our time.
rottyfan January 23, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Did I hurt your feelings? I mean it was pretty special that you came running when RL called for help. To be honest, you two swing the same exact way on just about every issue, it's kind of hard to tell you apart.
Frederick Klein January 23, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Was that your best shot at civility, Rotty? Obviously, RL and I have similar opinions on this issue. So what?
Igor January 23, 2013 at 10:23 PM
No he doesn't have a point. Does it matter if the child is black or white, or Spanish. For that matter does it even have to be a child? If he addressed his home town, you would be on him for only caring about his own. It's a no win with you. No where did I see only the suburbs being addressed. It's about gun control throughout the country. May I ask why you are so bitter and disagree with everyone?
Sandra January 23, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Actually I agree with Winston, Mike, rotty fan,tfd, max, bill, thomas paine, jlo, i'll get back to you with more commonsense folks you stick with ludlowe and klein
Igor January 23, 2013 at 10:53 PM
I can tell you where to stick it, but I'm sure you've heard it before.
Sandra January 23, 2013 at 10:58 PM
you are making alot of ass--umptions Igor
Sandra January 23, 2013 at 10:59 PM
why so bitter igor?
Igor January 23, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Just the truth, it seems like you go out of your way to fight with people.
R. Ludlowe January 24, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Igor, don't let him get to you and don't fall to his level. It's not worth it. There are other articles and forums here that Sandra isn't involved with, and you end up having civilized debates. My guess is that he's some lonely guy that feels the world owes him something. Oh, and he likes to use playboy models as his avatar and pretend he's a woman, but that's a whole other topic. Ignore him, and he goes away eventually.
Sandra January 24, 2013 at 12:24 AM
why would I leave when you guys amuse me so much? Ludlowe and klein sitting in a tree...k-i-s-s-i-n-g
James R M.D. January 24, 2013 at 12:35 AM
That was Rita with the avatar jackass! And so what? You use an avatar that's so corny and stupid. You are a just fountain of mis-information through and through. Get a life! Stop thinking you know it all. You don't and never will. I am getting sick of your bulls**t.
James R M.D. January 24, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Fredlowe!
Sandra January 24, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Hey Jim I think he's ignoring you. It worked.
James R M.D. January 24, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Sorry but he is a POS! HE'S NOT A MAN! He's a wussy female dog!
James R M.D. January 24, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Fredlowe is chock full of opinions and I bet he is a town freeloader. Big hat no cattle!
James R M.D. January 24, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Yeah Igor listen to Fredlowe he knows what's good for you. He speaks for all the losers. Losers united.
James R M.D. January 24, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Igprnorant you are a classless SLOB!
R. Ludlowe January 24, 2013 at 01:54 AM
wow, i leave the site for a couple of hours and you two turn it into a comedy act. Keep it coming, though... this is good, stuff.
James R M.D. January 24, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Fredlowe YOU are an f'ing joke! People are learning that real fast. You have as much credibility as Klein, oh wait...LOL!
Sandra January 24, 2013 at 02:07 AM
We're having a comedic roast in your honor.
julie criscuolo January 24, 2013 at 02:20 AM
I can suggest the PIG you can roast. LOL
julie criscuolo January 24, 2013 at 02:30 AM
BTW its 17 degrees and this will be a record cold week shouldn't these liberals be at some Global Warming Initiative to save the world. :-)
Michael S January 24, 2013 at 05:30 AM
Frederick Klein, The country has a parenting problem. I was raised with a respect of both women and firearms. At the age of 6 years old, my grandfather (US Army Vet after he immigrated from Italy) taught me to shoot. I was brought up as a gentleman. When When it was nice outside, they told me to go outside and play with friends and to come home when the street lights were on for dinner. I went out to play after my homework was done and they checked it. On Halloween, I went out with friends and walked door to door. I was 11 years old, my parents gave me "the talk" where I was taught about sex. They did not wait for the school system to teach me things, they were proactive and taught me everything I needed to live. I fear for the youth of America now, where they set "play-dates" and drive their kids door to door in their minivans for Halloween. They have no clue what a gun is, or how to treat it. They spend countless hours playing video games rated M (18+) when they are 13 years old because their parents are using it as a babysitting system.
Jim Eastwood January 24, 2013 at 11:38 AM
Good Morning Fred ! You are correct This Country does have a "Parent Problem" so evident here in Fairfield County. It's Not about Guns Nor mental health --It's really about "Buying you kid everything" and Never admitting that you as a Parent Have an Issue with you kid. Just Look around this county----(and it's Not every parent) How many New cars , cell phones, clothes, ETC do we see in the High Schools----Combine that with Kids(not All) who don't have to or choose not to work---What have you got?? Oh it's not My kid !!!! When this whole thing Plays out You may be surprised--It's Not a New Gun issue--we just need to enforce existing laws !!! Thanks Fred for you said it best !!!!! We Got a problem------!!!!!!
R. Ludlowe January 24, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Would live to see that source, if it exists.

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