WATERBURY, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont gathered with state officials, mayors and law enforcement at the Waterbury Police Department to announce the first in a series of legislative proposals aimed at curbing gun violence.
Monday's press conference came after the deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif. over the weekend.
"We are so much stronger as a people than the hateful," said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.
Many supporters of Lamont's proposal say now is the time to pass these laws.
"We don't need more guns," Tong continued. "What we need are the strongest gun laws in the nation. We have those, they can always be stronger."
The proposals will be included as part of the governor’s package of priorities for the 2023 legislative session, which he will present to the Connecticut General Assembly in February.
The proposals include:
- Investing an additional $2.5 million in community violence intervention programs;
- Banning the open carrying of firearms in public, while continuing to allow concealed carry with a permit except in particular locations;
- Limiting handgun purchases to one per month to discourage straw purchases; and
- Updating the state’s ban on unregistered “ghost guns” to stop their illegal flow.
"It doesn’t do us any good to say we're one of the safest states in the country, sixth safest, if people don't feel safe," Lamont added.
Lamont said according to national statistics, Connecticut remains one of the safest states in the country and that violent crime has been decreasing over the last several years; however, one shooting is still too many.
"Connecticut will continue to take the lead. We have taken the lead on reasonable gun safety laws, going back to Sandy Hook and well before that," said Lamont. "This is something that will make a real difference right now."
Legislative Republicans disagree.
"These things were already addressed in the law. So these things are already illegal, but we have gun crime," state Rep. Craig Fishbein (R-Middlefield) said Monday.
Those opposed say these proposals will harass and restrict law-abiding citizens while doing little to curb increasing violent crime.
"You would hope that legislation is passed not based upon sympathy or emotion, but based upon fact," said Fishbein.
Fishbein says he plans to introduce his own package of gun reforms, but Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee say community gun violence will be the top priority this session.
The fiscal year 2023 budget adjustment bill Lamont signed into law in May of 2022 includes an allocation of $2.9 million for a new statewide community gun violence intervention and prevention program.
The program is overseen by the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Office of Injury and Violence Prevention with input from the newly established Commission on Community Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention.
This year, Lamont’s fiscal years 2024 and 2025 budget proposal will include an additional $2.5 million to provide more grants for these organizations and allow them to continue their community-based crime reduction efforts.
It will also continue funding for the staff at the Department of Public Health who oversee this program.
Emma Wulfhorst is a political reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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