Connecticut Faith Leaders Press Gun Manufacturers On Safety and Weapons Distribution

Jun 2, 2014

Gun locks on display.
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Following the recent mass killing in California, faith leaders in Connecticut gathered on Monday to call on gun manufacturers to take steps aimed at reducing gun violence. 

Leaders from more than 25 churches, synagogues, and mosques in New Haven and Fairfield counties, along with Governor Dannel Malloy and mayors from New Haven, Bridgeport, and Norwalk, as well as First Selectwoman Pat Llodra of Newtown, planned to speak out as part of a campaign called Do Not Stand Idly By.

They’re calling on gun manufacturers to focus on two things: tightening their gun distribution systems to help stem illegal weapons trafficking; and developing smarter, safer guns.

"For a generation, we've been hearing that it's not guns that kill people, it's people that kill people," Malloy said in a statement. "If that's the case, then the gun industry has an obligation to tell us what they're doing to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them." Malloy announced that he has signed on to a request for information to the gun industry to find out what companies are doing to improve public safety.

In Washington, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is co-sponsor of proposed gun violence prevention legislation that centers on improving mental health services. The measure would create competitive grants to support crisis assessment and school-based mental health programs.

"This is something we’re beginning to do more of in Connecticut," Esty said. "Certainly, we’ve seen in a number of these mass shootings, and otherwise the importance of early identification and intervention."

Esty said the issue requires a multi-pronged approach, including giving law enforcement the tools they need to ensure that dangerous individuals can’t access guns. She said lawmakers need to take steps at the federal level.

"Too many of my colleagues have been too afraid to take on the NRA and other national groups when they know, or should know, that the American people are strongly supportive of these common-sense efforts that will, in fact, keep our communities safer," Esty said.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy agrees. He was a guest Friday on WNPR’s Where We Live. He said that a message is being sent by Congress that, "in the face of these increasing rates of mass atrocities, Congress doing nothing -- [it] essentially allows itself to become an accomplice."

Murphy agreed that no one solution will solve the problem of gun violence, but said action at the federal level has been crippled by the enormous power of the gun lobby.

If you plan to go: 
Monday, June 2, 2014, 7:30 pm sharp, at St. Gabriel School, 1 Tudor Road, Milford, just off Naugatuck Avenue.