The gun violence prevention conference hosted by Murphy, Blumenthal and Esty began Thursday morning with a clear message, from both panelists and politicians: enact legislation to change and strengthen the country’s gun laws, and do so at the federal level.
“No state can do it alone,” said Blumenthal.
“The policy changes that we talk about here today are incredibly important,” said Murphy. “The most important of those changes are those at the national level.”
Murphy said the conference would focus on the debate at the federal level, and said support from the President and Vice President was necessary.
State Police Captain Dale Hourigan described the horror of arriving at Sandy Hook on Dec. 14. “It’s our hope as law enforcement officers that as a result our laws are strengthened.”
He called for strengthening those laws by developing a “standardized set of laws that all 50 states abide by so we’re all in tune and in sync.”
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra echoed that and said “incongruent and inefficient national legislation” creates problems for municipalities. “The work that needs to be done at the municipal level to counter…really drains our resources,” he said.
Segarra said the “costs of making up for the lack of federal legislation” fell on the poor residents of his city.
The second panel featured professionals from the fields of mental health and education.
Many spoke of the importance of improving access to mental health, especially in schools.
Murphy asked them about how to determine whether someone who is mentally ill should be allowed to own a firearm.
“We’re either going to draw the line too broadly and include too many people or we’re going to draw the line too narrowly,” said Dr. Kathryn Seifurt, author of Path to Violence.
“The ones in treatment are less likely to be violent,” she added saying that the people who were more likely to commit crimes were less likely to be in the system.
When the panel was asked about School Resource Officers, Dr. George Sugai, UConn NEAG School of Education, said if SROs were put in schools, it would be important for them to develop trusting relationships with students.