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Stricter Gun Laws & Millions for School Safety

Photo: In the year since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School the state has passed historic legislation reforming gun laws. Photo credit: courtesy wikimedia commons
Photo: In the year since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School the state has passed historic legislation reforming gun laws. Photo credit: courtesy wikimedia commons
December 9, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. - Much has changed since the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost a year ago, starting with historic reforms to Connecticut's gun laws.

Last week's release of the 911 emergency calls brought back the horror of the shootings. This week, as the anniversary approaches, Alison Rivard, vice president of public issues at the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, said she hopes attention will also be paid to the way citizens, non-profit groups, and public officials came together to pass such new laws as the state ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

"First of all, people are aware, we passed an historic gun laws reform act on a bi-partisan basis; how often does that happen? I mean that people really rallied together and said, 'We need to make some changes in our laws', and worked very hard, and they did it."

Rivard said additional changes to state law needed include stronger requirements for safe storage of weapons and new regulations concerning the sale of long guns.

Despite the tough economy over the past year, Rivard said Governor Dannel Malloy and lawmakers came together on funding to improve safety at more than 600 schools statewide.

"The $21 million is going to go to school safety and security improvements, so that families can feel more secure about their kids and the school staff," she declared.

One change that got less attention, but may make the biggest difference, Rivard said, is the increased penalties that are now in effect for firearms trafficking.

"So that those who obtain guns illegally know that they face felony penalties; and in our conversations with law enforcement officials in the state, that was the area they thought was the most significant - particularly for our urban areas - getting after the firearms trafficking."

Rivard noted that it will also take wide public support and action to keep these reforms in place.

The long-gun measure is Senate Bill 1160.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT