The first speakers at Monday’s lengthy hearing on gun policy at the state Capitol complex were the parents of one of the young victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Mark Mattioli, the father of six-year-old James Mattioli, said the state doesn’t need new gun control laws. But it does need better enforcement of existing laws, he said.
He cited the city of Chicago, which experienced more than 500 murders last year, despite having some of the toughest gun control policies in the nation.
“What have those gun laws done to make Chicago a safer city?” Mattioli said. “Nothing, I propose. Can’t we do better? Yes. Criminals by definition break the law. What we experienced in Sandy Hook — did they break the law? Of course they broke the law.”
“I want responsible legislation,” he said. “It needs to be simple, it needs to be enforced.”
Mattioli, who was joined by his wife Cindy at the hearing, said after his son was killed he started thinking about gun laws. Then he visited the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms website and learned that many of the laws he thought about where already on the books.
“There’s common sense laws out there,” he said. “There are breakdowns in how they’re being enforced.”
Mattioli cited the case of a Greenwich man who was convicted of having eight machine guns; he was sentenced to 12 months. “If we all agree as a nation we don’t need machine guns…and the enforcement for violating that law is 12 months and a day, a hockey season, whatever you want to call it…it digusts me, that’s what that does, it disgusts me.”
Mattioli also cited the case of a Milford gun shop owner who was convicted of illegal distributing guns and given a sentence of three years.
Mattioli said he backs a few, simple laws, of which there are already ”more than enough on the books. I think we should hold people individually accountable for their actions and we should enforce laws appropriately and I would say were not currently enforcing them appropriately.”
After Mattioli testified, he was met with extended applause and a standing ovation from at least half of the room.