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 don’t believe the Constitution can be amended to strip individuals of their God given rights. If it could, then it really isn’t a right.
I dont believe the Constitution can be amended to strip individuals of their God given rights. If it could, then it really isnt a right.
Exactly. The “Bill of Rights” are inalienable rights.
But Connecticut is sixth in the death by knife category. source I reckon if there isn't going to be a gunfight, bringing a knife is OK.
I must note that over half of the victims are listed as "white", so banning white folks should reduce the murder rate by at least half, right?
It makes just as much sense to blame the victim as the tool rather than place the blame where it belongs--on a nutcase or criminal psychopath.
If laws against murder won't stop people from murdering others, what makes these nitwits think laws against guns will?
The Sandy hook shooting could have as easily been a slaughter with a machete or blunt instrument(s). There was no effective means present to defend against either of those, either.
These anti-freedom gun groups would not exist and would not be continuing their assaults on society’s true protectors were it not for the behind-the-scenes money that is available for them. They create groups to chase after the big dollars that wealthy leftists offer them. That is where the real explanation for these groups lies.
The Anti-gun people depend on people with Guns to enforce their ideology.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
Thus tyranny advances, by popular acclaim.
2nd amendment: Its The Law of the Land
Ohhh thats right! Thats only the case when the National Socialist Left deems it to be the case. ///sarc.
Wow! I hear that happening all over the places these days.
This announcement is particularly repugnant because it comes from the mouth of the most loathsome and vile of liars, Richard “Fake Vietnam Veteran” Blumenthal.
I had the misfortune to be present when he lied about his fictional “service” in Vietnam to a group of elderly citizens being commended for helping wounded vets from Afghanistan and Iraq. I didn’t know about his LIE at the time, but he spewed his false testimony to veterans of WWII and Korea without any hesitation. The fact that this bum is a U.S. Senator from my home state breaks my heart. Nothing that he says has a speck of credibility.
Banning swimming pools and peanut butter would save more kids then banning guns.
And they aren't going up against the "gun lobby", what ever that is, they are going up against 80 million gun owners and the Constitutional Rights of everyone in the country.
got my wife out of MA and she said it was the best move she had ever done. Now we live in St Augustine, St Johns county north east FL which is one of the most republican counties in the state.
red is republican , blue obviously the small college and the small black area.
We have no Dems here and my wife feels we are much more free .
Good luck at getting out of CT or New England.
wonder what the numbers are for drug deaths which never seem to be mentioned.
I hear ya. Wish we could do the same... we're stuck here for now unfortunately.
Any politician who engages in overturning the 2nd Amendment should be immediately removed from office and prosecuted for treason. 0bama has made treason fashionable whereas it should be punishable with a long prison term.
"Any change we can make that can save just one life,
Lets trade the blood for the millions who have died for our freedom for "just one life". Who can argue with that logic?
I refuse to treat him or any other of the other parents of SH who are running around for more gun control. They are politicians, not grieving parents. BTW, were are they getting the money to do this?
Ok, Ron. Do me a favor and go the south side of Chicago and tell me how the strictest gun laws in the nation are working.
Ban alcohol and drugs you gutless nutcase.