Skip to comments.[CT] Coalition to take on gun lobby
Posted on 09/24/2013 7:21:37 AM PDT by ModernDayCato
A day after President Barack Obama visited the Washington Naval Yard, site of the nation's latest mass shooting, local and federal officials called on citizens across the country to form a coalition large enough to battle the powerful gun lobby.
At a roundtable discussion at the Margaret Morton Government Center in Bridgeport on Monday, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he and other senators will only be able to take on the gun lobby and pass stronger gun laws if people throughout the nation speak up.
"What makes the NRA strong is that they can mobilize tens of thousands of people on a dime," he said. "They can make it sound like a majority because of the echo effect. We need to match that kind of grass-roots coalition."
"Any change we can make that can save just one life, be it a child or an adult, would be worth the effort," said Neil Heslin, father of Jesse Lewis, one of the 20 first-graders killed in the Sandy Hook School massacre in Newtown last December.
Heslin has been a public presence at gun violence hearings and forums all year.
Sitting beside him was Jackie Pettway, who brought nearly everyone to tears when she described the pain she still feels after losing her son, LaChristopher Pettway, just two weeks ago during a shooting incident.
She said when her son was shot he had been trying to move younger people at the scene out of the area.
"I would never want this kind of pain I feel sitting here right now inflicted on another mother," said Pettway, who buried her son last week.
She said she was relieved, but received little comfort, when Bridgeport police quickly arrested a city man and charged him with the shooting.
"No one is a winner here," Pettway said. "That child is an 18-year-old that killed my 26-year-old. The only difference is his mom will visit her son in jail and I will visit my son in a cemetery."
Although Connecticut passed stricter gun laws months after the Newtown shooting, a federal attempt to get expanded background checks for all gun-buyers died in the Senate earlier this year, in large part due to opposition from the National Rifle Association, its lobbyists and supporters.
Robert Crook, director of the Connecticut Coalition of Sportsmen, who was not invited to the roundtable discussion, said he doubted the restrictive gun laws, like expanding background checks and banning assault weapons, would pass even if an opposing coalition is formed.
"The gun people are way more active than the non-gun people," he said. "They have no documentation. Show us the facts, not emotion. Legislators look at votes and they look at money and they look at citizens' opinions."
Restrictive gun laws only affect law-abiding citizens anyway because criminals aren't known for adhering to laws, said Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League.
He said the NRA provides safety training and is just trying to protect citizens' Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The senators were just using the discussion on gun violence to deflect attention away from Congress' failure to address the nation's economic woes, Wilson said.
But local lawmakers and their allies argue the federal gun laws will make a difference.
Ron Pinciaro, of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said the state has the fifth fewest gun deaths in the nation. He attributed that to the fact that Connecticut also has some of the strictest gun laws.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said mass shootings have become the new normal in the nation in the last few years, and the country had been too complacent.
"What we are here to say today is we intend to build a political movement that lasts years and decades," Murphy said. "We are here to tell the gun lobby that we are not going away."
Monte Frank, a member of the Newtown Action Alliance, said gun lobbyists shouldn't underestimate the impact of activism in the state.
"The Connecticut effect has emerged into an American effect because gun violence has no borders," he said.
But Crook said those pushing for new laws are making a mistake: they are not focusing enough time and effort on the underlying issues behind gun violence, especially mental illness.
It was the one thing the roundtable participants and gun enthusiasts agreed on.
The Rev. Richardo Griffith, an East End activist, said local church leaders need to play an active part in guiding local youth away from violence and providing services to the community.
"It is time for us to take control of our streets," he said.
Bridgeport Assistant Police Chief James Nardozzi said many of the shootings in the city are caused by conflicts between members of opposing gangs.
"This gun culture and lack of conflict resolution skills also calls for an educational component," Nardozzi said.
Blumenthal said he believes national gun reform is possible if people across the nation unite.
"It will take time and it will take a sustained effort," he said.
I was out on a lake the other day still trying to find my lost firearms that sunk with my boat. Funny, I thought I saw another Freeper there looking for his too.
Think that might have been me. Shame I lost the boat too.
“....save just one life.” I feel for the grieving father who said that, but I’ve always detested that language. No, sir.....shredding the Constitution to save one life is not a trade I’m willing to make.
...local and federal officials called on citizens across the country to form a coalition large enough to battle the powerful gun lobby.
The Nazis are on the march across the nation.
Leftists will never recognize the real causes behind so-called “gun violence”.
And that’s 50+ years of liberal social policy.
But Alexis was following Joe The Clown Biden’s advice and bought a shotgun, totally legally and with a background check. You mean the gun grabbers are now going to outlaw shotguns? What will Jill Biden use for protection then? ...Oh yeah, that detail of taxpayer-funded Secret Service protection will probably take up the slack for the Veep and his Mrs.
“This gun culture and lack of conflict resolution skills also calls for an educational component,” Nardozzi said.
Nice little suggestion that the ignorant masses are in need of reeducation. Starting with the children.
Surprising somebody didn’t shout “Nobody’s coming to take away your guns!!”
I say we just ask them if they just want to take our guns and when they say yes we shoot them and end this push for tyranny.
“What makes the NRA strong is that they can mobilize tens of thousands of people on a dime,..”
Correction: “...can mobilize tens of thousands of gun owners at any time.” - best they remember.
Why is there a "gun lobby", but no one in the kneepad media ever refers to the opposition as an "anti-gun lobby"?
Simply tell the “ If you don’t like our current gun laws, then change them by amending the constitution”
How come they never talk about the “gun control lobby”?
Wasn't there another weekend of mayhem in Chicago this weekend?
One wonders how many of these politicians snort Coke, or ignore the deaths caused by deadly drugs in far greater numbers than those caused by sicko gunmen.
Such a pity that the mall shoppers in Nairobi were not skilled in conflict resolution skills.
A most ridiculous lie.
If mass shootings were the new normal, then there would be fewer solitary victims than victims of mass shooting events.
Obvious untruths in the pursuit of tyranny have the same reek as tyranny itself, regardless of stated motive.
The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it.
A gaggle of fools and traitors. When are they going to realize that gun free zones are the same thing as target rich free fire zones? Bad guys will always be able to get guns, wherever they are at.