About 1,000 defenders of the Second Amendment gathered at the Connecticut state Capitol in Hartford on Saturday to urge lawmakers to protect their right to bear arms as provided in the U.S. Constitution.
The rally was part of a national effort on Saturday to respond to legislative attempts, at both the federal and state level, to tighten gun laws in the wake of the shooting massacre at Sandy Hill School in Newtown, CT.
Since the tragedy, dozens of bills have been introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly, including SB 122, which would restrict the number of bullets a gun could fire to a single round.
According to anti-gun group, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Connecticut already has high ratings for its gun control laws.
Robert Crook, head of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, a lobbying group, spoke at the rally. “Gun owners are under serious attack,” he said. “What we’re facing right now is quick fixes, do something, firearm solutions to this heartbreaking incident.”
Crook stated, however, that the state police report has still not been released, so no one can answer the question about what actually happened in the Newtown shooting.
Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said his organization will fight any restrictions on guns while it studies issues such as mental health. Nevertheless, Wilson said that he would advocate to strengthen the length of jail sentences for “straw buyers,” those who purchase firearms legally and then sell them to individuals who are unable to purchase them lawfully. He indicated that those guns often end up in the hands of criminals.
Attorney Martha Dean, former candidate for state attorney general in 2010, spoke as well. Dean stated that “no responsible gun owner in Connecticut or in America opposes laws, firearms laws that are aimed at a true problem and that actually work to solve or fix the problem without infringing on core, core rights.”
In response to the Newtown shooting, President Obama, on Wednesday, issued 23 executive “actions” that urged a federal weapons ban, background checks for all firearms, and an initiative for health service providers to speak to patients about guns.
In addition, the state of New York hurriedly passed the strictest gun control legislation in the nation, banning “high-capacity” magazines with more than seven bullets, and causing some confusion regarding whether police officers were exempt from the new ban. An amendment to the new legislation is already being discussed in the state legislature to clarify the issue.
The mental health requirement of the New York state legislation, which stipulates that mental health professionals report patients who could be dangerous to authorities, has been described by some mental health experts as one that could deter patients from seeking help in the first place.
Despite the need to pass gun control legislation that politicians at both the federal and state level are apparently experiencing, a new NBC/Wall St. Journal poll reveals that 83% of Americans say that parents who “don’t pay enough attention to what’s going on in their kids’ lives” share a great deal of responsibility for mass shootings such as what occurred in Newtown and the Aurora Theater.
In addition, the poll found that 62% of those surveyed believe that violent television shows and movies that glorify violence share the blame as well.
Finally, 67% of those polled said they believe media coverage of mass shootings shares in the guilt for gun crime.
Another poll released Friday, by Rasmussen, found that 65% of American adults think the purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that people are able to protect themselves from tyranny.