This was posted on my Facebook this morning. As some may know, VP Joe Biden came to my hometown Danbury, CT for a conference on guns with our state and local politicians.
A Tale of Two MeetingsHop below the orange squiggly for some comments and more news on Connecticut and guns.
Last night, my daughter and I attended Congresswoman Esty's Town Hall Meeting in Waterbury. The pro gun extremists showed up en masse, compelling me to stand up and speak (actually my daughter made me). And, while Congresswoman Esty was excellent, I left the meeting discouraged. I began to question whether our efforts would be undermined by the minority of gun owners who hide behind the Second Amendment and ignore the Supreme Court's decision in Heller making it clear that the Second Amendment is not without limitations. But, I also knew that no matter how hard the fight, I had an obligation to my daughters, to my Town and to all of our children to persevere. We all must share that obligation, and, together, we must overcome.
Today, all doubt was obliterated, as I had the privilege of attending the Gun Violence Forum in Danbury. We will succeed because of the strong leadership of the people in that room: Governor Malloy, Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, Congresswoman Esty, Congressman Himes, Vice President Biden, all of the Mayors, all of the 1st Selectmen, all of the Chiefs of Police, and the multitude of grassroots leaders uniting people from all over the country. The real Connecticut Effect was on display in full force.
Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy and Congresswoman Esty all led interesting panel discussions. They and others, including Governor Malloy, spoke passionately about their resolve to put all of their political capital on the table to press for meaningful gun safety legislation. The Vice President proclaimed that there is a "moral price to be paid for inaction. If you're concerned about your political survival you should be concerned about the survival of our children. I believe the price will be paid politically by those who refuse to act, who refuse to step forward."
Despite the incredible political firepower in the room, the stars of the day were Newtown's Pat Llodra, and Chris and Lynn McDonnell. They garnered the most respect and received the longest and most frequent standing ovations, and deservedly so. When our world went dark, Pat led us with poise and courage. And, now she is leading us again in this quest to make our world safe for our children: "Never again will we accept the ideological posturing that the changes needed are too complex and too difficult to achieve. Never again will we look the other way. It is time to act." Chris McDonnell talked about moral responsibility. Lynn McDonnell spoke about her promise to Grace: "After that day I made a promise to her that I would be the voice. We promised Grace that we would be fearless in our efforts."
I am so proud to be from Newtown, to be able to not only have Chris, Lynn and Pat as my neighbors and leaders, but to count them as my friends. As Vice President Biden said to Chris and Lynn and the families of the victims: "You have a hell of a lot more courage than I do." He's right. And, because of their courage, this time will be different.
As some may know VP Joe Biden came to town yesterday and there was a big conference at Western Connecticut State University on guns with many federal, state, and local politicians in attendance. Vice President Joe Biden 'challenged politicians to enact gun laws to reduce violence and accused gun control opponents of "looking for roadblocks" rather than answers in a speech Thursday in Danbury.' Well it seems here in Connecticut we're heeding his words.Thanks for sharing this, Monte Frank and for reminding everyone that the Supreme Court has never indicated that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the things so many claim. This time must be different. Good luck.
9 hours ago · Like · Dislike · 11Never be discouraged by the pro-gun extremists. They may be loud but they are the minority. The rest of us stand with Newtown and all of those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. Change will come. Change is coming.
8 hours ago · Like · Dislike · 15Thanks for all you are doing, Monte... for Newtown and Everytown.
8 hours ago · Like · Dislike · 6We're proud of all you're doing Monte... Keep it up!
8 hours ago via mobile · Like · Dislike · 2Very well written. Do not EVER be discouraged. We will persevere. Very proud of you to have the courage to speak in a room with extremists. We have a voice and it shall not be lost.
about an hour ago via mobile · Like · DislikePlease continue to stay strong. The pro-gun extremists are not as big in numbers as they are in voice. Keep your voice.
about an hour ago via mobile · Like · Dislike · 1Thank you for all your efforts ... This time they can't silence us... Yes it's hard but so was ending slavery. Civilized people deserve to live in a civilized society.
about an hour ago via mobile · Like · DislikeWonderful words. Tzedek. Tzedek. Tzedek. Tirdof. Justice justice justice we shall pursue!
about an hour ago via mobile · Like · DislikeThey're counting on intimidation and they're waiting for the general public to "move on." We're all with you.
about an hour ago · Like · DislikeI live streamed the gun violence conference yesterday and was very motivated and encouraged by all panel members! Keep up the good fight, and remember, the 'Connecticut Effect' is not fading, it's GROWING.
53 minutes ago via mobile · Like · Dislike
Maybe in Missouri or South Dakota the effects of Sandy Hook are not being felt but here in Connecticut it's Growing not diminishing as someone else said above. The comments and story was posted on my facebook this morning, along with some comments including one from my friend whose son was at Sandy Hook Elementary School the morning of the shooting. I deleted the names of the posters. But among the people who spoke and posted comments are die hard republicans. The First Selectman from Newtown, Pat Llodra for example is a Republican.
I've been saying it for a while now and it remains true, the shooting rocked us to our core. These types of things DO NOT HAPPEN here. Not in Newtown or anywhere in SW CT with the exception of maybe Bridgeport. People of wealth move to these parts to raise their families in safe environments. Fairfield County was recently rated the #1 area in the country for highest median household income. 1 out of every 10 people in this area make above $160,000 a year. Newtown is no exception. Median household income in Newtown is close to $100,000. Suffice to say these people who live in the towns are predominantly republican. Maybe not the hard core social conservatives we see in other parts of the country but definitely republican in the Rockefeller mode. Think Governor Jodi Rell. Fiscally conservative but she signed a law allowing gay marriage. One of the first states in the country to do so (YEAH!!!).
Yet THESE are the people clamoring for gun control. Not Democrats. Of course Democrats are also advocating for gun control but it's the Republicans who are helping the tide turn. Groups from the wealthy towns of Westport, New Canaan, Greenwich and so on are continually busing people to Hartford to advocate for gun control. Republican leaders in our State Capitol have come out and warned gun lobbyists to hold off on the lobbying because in this climate their shit isn't going to fly (paraphrasing here a bit). Some of those same leaders have themselves voted for AWB laws in the past. Moms and dads all of a sudden are concerned about the safety of their children more than the NRA. Gun nuts are being shunned and the NRA is on the run.
There are some vocal gun nuts but like the tea party here in CT, they are a very loud, boisterous and vocal group but also a very small minority. And for the most part our politicians are having none of it.
Governor Dan Malloy came out guns blazing and pretty much threw Republican leaders under the bus and backed over them a few times. Basically he told them that if they didn't come up with something concrete soon he would push forward his proposals. He held nothing back either.
"It's been 69 days since Sandy Hook, a long time," Malloy said at a late-afternoon press conference in Hartford, hours after he outlined a gun-control plan at a conference in Danbury, where 90 journalists gathered to hear Vice President Joe Biden deliver a keynote speech.
The governor was testy at times, suggesting that reporters were too interested in questions of politics and process raised by his abrupt proposal, which legislators interpreted as an unwelcome rebuke of their continuing efforts to reach a bipartisan consensus around gun legislation.
"With respect to timing, I would just ask that we not get overly involved in process," Malloy told reporters. "In fact, I'm loathe to tell you how to do your job, but when people talk about those things, why don't you ask them about the specifics?"
When pressed, Malloy said, "Listen, get it out of your system. Write all the things you want about the process."
Among the items in his proposal he would
-significantly expand the definition of firearms under the state's 20-year-old assault weapons ban, covering any semiautomatic rifle with any one "military feature," including a pistol grip, flash suppressor or collapsible stock. Ammunition magazines would be limited to 10 rounds.
State law currently considers a gun an assault weapon if the ammunition magazine can be detached and if it has two or more military-style features, such as a pistol grip, grenade launcher, bayonet lug, flash suppressor, folding telescopic stock or collapsible stock.
For the thousands of people in Connecticut who currently have these weapons that would become illegal, they would be grandfathered.
-reclassify a semiautomatic handgun as an assault weapon if it takes a detachable magazine and has one of any military-style features. A handgun would also fall under the expanded assault weapons ban if its weight is 50 ounces or more when the gun is unloaded.
-require background checks for all gun purchases in the state, including at gun shows, and ban purchases by anyone convicted of any offense involving a firearm.
-require that training and safe storage techniques be a part of firearm training courses.
There's a bipartisan group working on legislation and some of the proposals that are coming out of that are similar to Gov Malloy's along with some additional proposals for mental health. We're going to get some serious gun control legislation whether gun nuts and the NRA want it or not. We already were one of the states with the strictest laws on the books and Sandy Hook just showed that they were not enough so we're doing something about it. Not so coincidentally, until 2012 Connecticut also ranked as one of the safest states in the nation. So while some idiots in Missouri propose legislation outlawing ANY gun laws, here in Connecticut we're tightening them.
Sandy Hook opened up a huge gaping wound that will take a long time to heal. It also made us realize that we're not alone. There are literally tens of thousands of letters at Newtown Town Hall from people all over the country and the world expressing sympathy. The halls of the Town Hall are adorned with quilts and posters from people and schools from all over the country with the names of children and teachers who weren't directly affected by the events of 12/14/12 but were affected by it nonetheless.
The NRA may think that the Connecticut Effect will fade down the memory hole, and maybe in other parts of the country it will, until they have their version of Sandy Hook happen there that is. But here in Connecticut the effect of 12/14 is growing not fading.