During a hearing about gun control at the Connecticut State Capitol on Monday, two groups were present who brought their views. One group was dressed in camouflage and the other was dressed in suits. All told, there were some 1,500 people at the hearing, according to the Connecticut Post.
A resident of Newtown who has girls in the town’s schools, Bill Stevens, said that he would shoot anyone threatening his family during a home invasion and then call 911. He paraphrased a gun-rights quote, saying the following:
“I will tell you here today, you will take my ability to protect my Victoria from my cold, dead hands.”
A lawyer from Greenwich, Lindy Urso, said, “The local and national debate has been co-opted by the anti-gun agenda. This has nothing to do with Newtown.”
Advocates of gun control argued that the Bushmaster assault rifle should be banned. It was used by the gunman in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“How many more people have to be massacred in our schools, shopping malls and movie theaters before those of us who are in a position to create laws actually act?” Gayle Weinstein, the first selectman of Weston, said.
Nancy Lefkowitz, from Fairfield, said, “In the 45 days since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 3,600 people have died because of gun violence.” She marched 12 years ago in the “Million Mom March.” Since that march, 360,000 people have died from gun violence.
“And some of you have asked us to wait while you weigh your options?” Lefkowitz said. “Don’t you think we have waited long enough? Stop this bleeding. You can be sure your hesitance to act swiftly and aggressively in favor of safer, rational gun laws turns thousands of residents of this state into single-issue voters and we are now paying attention to your every move.”
During the testimony of Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, who was killed during the shooting at Sandy Hook, gun enthusiasts shouted “The Second Amendment!” when Heslin asked why Bushmaster assault-style weapons should be legally sold in the state.
“There are a lot of things that should be changed to prevent what happened,” said Heslin. Heslin noted that he grew up using guns.
“That wasn’t just a killing, it was a massacre,” said Heslin. “I just hope some good can come out of this.”
Martin M. Looney, the Senate Majority Leader and the co-chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, threatened to empty the hearing if the audience did not stop the chatter.
Mark Mattioli, whose son James was killed at Sandy Hook, said, “I don’t believe it’s so complex. We need civility across our nation. The problem is not gun laws, it’s a lack of civility.”