Parents Call for Tighter Gun Laws in Tense Hearing

Two sides clashed in Hartford Monday as parents of those lost in the Dec. 14 shooting testified.

Both sides knew it would be a showdown. And it was.

Advocates for and against gun control clashed in Hartford Monday at a public hearing for the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety, set up in response to the tragic shooting that took the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

Both sides knew the atmosphere would be tense, and that the Legislative Office Building in Hartford would be packed. Anticipating a huge crowd, police put additional security measures in place, including metal detectors.

And it was tense -- and packed. More than 1,300 people signed up to speak, according to ABC News, with wait times as long as two hours.

One of those speakers was Neil Heslin, father of 6-year-old Jessie Heslin, a shooting victim. Heslin was one of three parents of children lost on Dec. 14 to speak at the hearing, along with Veronique Pozner and Mark Mattioli. He went head-to-head with gun control advocates, according to Fox News, saying he couldn't see a reason for any civilian to own a high-powered assault rifle like an AR-15 or an AK-47.

"The sole purpose of those ... is put a lot of lead out on the battlefield quickly. And that's what they do. And that's what they did at Sandy Hook Elementary on the 14th," said Heslin.

A handful of crowd members shouted back about Second Amendment rights.

Pozner and Mattioli took the discussion deeper, asking questions about civility in today's society and the problem of evil. Pozner, who described her son as a "young philosopher," said she didn't always have the answers to his thoughtful questions, according to ABC.

She said Noah used to ask, "If there are bad guys out there, why can't they just all wake up one day and decide to be good?"

"The problem is a lack of civility," said Mattioli, who also called for stricter enforcement of existing laws, according to the Hartford Courant. "I believe in a few simple gun laws. I think we have more than enough on the books ... We should hold people individually accountable for their actions."

Response from pro-gun advocates was spurred by groups like Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation, one of the largest gun advocacy groups in the U.S. The group was thrown into the spotlight shortly after the December shooting when news organizations like the Huffington Post noticed its coincidental presence in Newtown.

Representatives from the NSSF joined Connecticut-based gun manufacturers, including Colt and Mossberg & Sons, in a press conference in Hartford Monday prior to the start of the hearing.

"We’re here to listen to what the legislature has to say and to work with the legislature, to be at the table to craft a solution," said NSSF Vice President Lawrence Keene at the conference, according to a release from the group's web site.

An widely distributed online action alert encouraging supporters to attend the hearing and sign up to speak bore stronger language, calling potential gun control measures "draconian" and "knee-jerk reaction legislation" that would make Connecticut gun owners "instant criminals."

"Legislators in Hartford are in the process of destroying your Second Amendment rights by exploiting recent tragedies," said the release.

Monday's hearing was the second of four the Task Force is holding. On Wednesday, the legislature will travel to Newtown for the final hearing at Newtown High School.

rottyfan January 30, 2013 at 03:01 PM
The Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare is a fact and its implementation is proceeding. However, separate from that decision will be religious conscience and that will be up to the Supreme Court to reconcile. There's no hypocrisy in that, but it sure is foolish to dismiss a Supreme Court ruling just because a tookus brother tells you to. So is tookus brothers and partners, llc preparing a challenge to overturn the Heller case? I'll accept that decision when you guys win, LMFAO.
Creeky January 30, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I also don't know if there is a specific need for a 100 round magazine. Not long ago, I was lectured in a parking lot, by a Prius owner, that I did not need my pickup truck. I can't tow 5+ tons with a Prius, and I do that with my pickup a few times a year. I don't own any guns, but without some strong basis for taking away someone else's right to own them... I'm loathe to take away any right, from anyone, regardless of whether I choose to exercise it. Diane Feinstein's original argument for the assault weapon ban was based upon a research paper that indicated no evidence that reduced gun ownership reduced violence, and may actually increase it. I don't know much about guns, but it's really hard to keep reading the "why would anyone need..." arguments, particularly when they are so devoid of fact. An AK-47's "sole purpose" "is put a lot of lead out on the battlefield quickly." Actually, it excels are being dependable in wet and dirty conditions. AR-15? Try high accuracy at 300+ yards. There are far, far better guns to "put a lot of lead out on the battlefield quickly." And those semi-automatics and magazines that hold more than seven shots? Isn't the preferred personal weapon for off duty police officers a semi-automatic, 9mm, block pistol with a 14 round magazine?
Creeky January 30, 2013 at 03:04 PM
"Glock" not block--spellchecker.
Creeky January 30, 2013 at 03:19 PM
One more quick thought for you all, 40% of the country owns guns. We're probably going to need to find some compromise here. I'm not sure insult, hyperbole, or referring to someone with a different opinion as a "tookus brother" is going to win anyone over, let alone get them to consider your position. Also, butt pirate is way, way funnier.
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Creeky -- I can confirm that calling me silly names does not lead me to consider the other person's viewpoint.
Creeky January 30, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 03:37 PM
I will just note for the record that Creeky is someone I have disagreed with on this site and debated with, but things don't get uncivil or ugly. Kudos to you, Creeky. (I am specifically reminded of when we agreed to a draw: http://fairfield.patch.com/articles/lambs-to-the-slaughter-1425bce8)
Creeky January 30, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Cheers Frederick. We're coming into budget season and I look forward to having my opinions and perspective challenged in civil discourse. Until next time...
Fairfield Old Timer January 30, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Fairfield Old Timer January 30, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Fairfield Old Timer January 30, 2013 at 07:30 PM
LOL!!! mark = PWNED by Shecky!!! Good Job Shecky!!
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 07:34 PM
In case the gun advocates have missed something, let's just state it straight out: Many of us in favor of gun control really don't care what the proper gun terms are. "Magazines", "clips", etc., etc. We just don't care, and we are unlikely to make an effort to learn them. We want less guns out there. Period. If you feel like you have "pwned" us (that's from a gun video game, right?), enjoy that feeling. The head of the NRA is making such a fool of himself at a hearing today, that more gun control is sure to be on its way soon.
mark January 30, 2013 at 08:38 PM
lets disarm the police of their guns, look what the bridgeport police did how stupid those cops were .And who wants to talk about the rights of religion or priest, please spare me, it was only three cops a couple of priest.
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Could you explain what you are talking about, Mark?
rottyfan January 30, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Aw, Frederick Klein declares that he is civil and stays above the fray so it must be true. I especially like how he denounced R. Ludlowe's use of a racial slur. Oh wait! My mistake; because it was posted by his tookus brother, R. Ludlowe, he had no problem with it. Butt pirate may be funnier, but tookus brothers is more accurate. Two left (wing) cheeks combined to make one whole tookus.
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Actually, Rotty, I was complimenting Creeky -- someone with whom I have disagreed on this board. I was not patting myself on the back. Don't hold your breath waiting for the same compliment from me. Perhaps you could advise what racial slur Ludlowe used. I'm not just going to attack Ludlowe without knowing what it is that you think I should have found offensive.
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Is this what you are talking about?: "I don't know where to start with any of you, so I'll just sit back and continue to watch the White Trash Comedy Hour unfold." So is the implication that, if I don't address something someone else on the board says, that means I support it? Fine. Ludlowe -- If you read this, apparently some people take the term "white trash" as an offensive racial slur. So let's refrain from calling each other "white trash". While we are on the topic of things that people find offensive: I am offended by the use of the word "retard" or "retarded" or any derivation of same (I've seen it bastardized into "libtard") because it is insulting to people who are mentally disabled and their families. In the interests of avoiding unnecessary offense and promoting civil discourse, I hope that everyone is willing to refrain from using those terms.
Sandra January 30, 2013 at 10:02 PM
We would like an apology from Ludlowe for calling us white trash. We have been having a little fun with each other but I think those remarks were stepping over the line. An apology that doesn't start like this "I am sorry IF I offended anyone...." That would mean the statement is still not offensive to the offender.
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 10:09 PM
OK, Sandra. Why don't you show Ludlowe how it's done by first apologizing to me for bringing my family into a discussion when it was unnecessary.
R. Ludlowe January 30, 2013 at 10:13 PM
I apologize for using the term "white trash." I will refrain from anything that could be interpreted as racial slurs. There is no place for that, nor the other name-calling that happens regularly here. (It is interesting to me that racial slurs are somehow regarded as offensive while sexual-preference and mental conditions are open game, but I'll do my best to comply.)
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 10:15 PM
OK, Sandra. Ludlowe has apologized. Your turn.
Sandra January 30, 2013 at 10:19 PM
IF I offended you I am sorry. LOL If you go back you will realize you showed no compassion or concern for me when I spoke of fearing for my life in an elevator. Sometimes people can only relate if you put their loved ones in a similar situation. It suddenly becomes crystal clear. If you don't agree Oh well.
Abe Froman January 30, 2013 at 10:33 PM
The entire Constitution, not just the 2nd amendment, is written to state what the government cannot do to the citizens of the U.S. (i.e. it shows how the citizens are protected from government, including one that might become tyrannical). To that point, the 2nd amendment is not, and never was about hunting.
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 10:34 PM
If you took it that way then I can apologize for that, and I can explain what my response meant. I was saying that it is not a good idea to have a concealed firearm in an elevator, and that is just my opinion.
Frederick Klein January 30, 2013 at 10:36 PM
But the NRA used to be about hunting. Now it's an extreme political group. I don't respect it and certainly not its current leader.
Abe Froman January 30, 2013 at 10:36 PM
The entire Constitution, not just the 2nd amendment, is written to state what the government cannot do to the citizens of the U.S. (i.e. it shows how the citizens are protected from government, including one that might become tyrannical). Despite your view, nothing has changed since the Constitution was written. We still need protections from an overreaching government and always will.
Abe Froman January 30, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Frederick, thanks for admitting that you know nothing about a topic in which you wish to force changes upon others. It's even more enlightening that you admit that you won't educate yourself. Despite these points, you expect to be taken seriously?
Sandra January 30, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Thank you. It is more fun dueling with you.
Sean O'Donnell January 31, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Blame the LAWMAKERS.
disheartened resident February 04, 2013 at 04:03 AM
"They just care about their rights" Spoken like a true low information voter who likely knows more about "South Park" and the "Mafia Wives" than issues of substance like Constitutional Law and Governmental Boundaries. The one thing that we certainly do agree upon is "It's a shame innocent people have to die like that". Don't think just because we don't want our rights taken away that we don't care. Every firearms owner I have spoken with CARES and is as HEARTBROKEN as everyone else is about this tragedy. We just are opposed to be paying self serving politicians for a crime we didn't commit, with a payment (our rights) that won't prevent future incidents like this from happening! So "Hopeful", better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.


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