Newtown residents urge stricter gun control
BY SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- One after another, Newtown residents stepped to the microphone and urged Connecticut lawmakers to stop another tragedy like the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and take action, such as banning high-powered, military style rifles and high-capacity magazines.
While a General Assembly bipartisan task force heard Wednesday from some residents concerned about their Second Amendment rights, the vast majority of the several hundred people who turned out for the public hearing -- including parents of children killed at Sandy Hook and local officials -- appeared to support greater gun control.
"Make this the time that change happens. Don't give up because it's too hard or too difficult. Make a promise to honor the lives lost at Sandy Hook and elsewhere in America by turning this tragedy into the moment of transformation that benefits us all," said Nicole Hockley.
Her 6-year-old son, Dylan, was among those killed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who fatally shot his mother in their home before driving to the school to carry out the massacre before killing himself.
Jennifer Killin, a Newtown mother, said there's a national misperception that Newtown residents want to repeal the Second Amendment. Rather, she said, Newtown residents want to protect people's rights while also protecting children and their safety.
"It's in everyone's best interest to work together," she said, receiving loud applause from the crowd.
Bill Sherlach, whose wife, Mary, a school psychologist, died in the rampage, said he respects the Second Amendment but it was written in a long-ago era where armaments were different.
"I have no idea how long it took to reload and refire a musket," he said. "I do know that the number of shots fired in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in those few short minutes is almost incomprehensible, even in today's modern age."
Wednesday's hearing was in sharp contrast to a legislative subcommittee hearing held Monday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on gun laws, which lasted hours into the night and attracted hundreds of gun rights activists statewide.