Debate On Newtown Laws, And Guns, Begins
State lawmakers are debating new proposals on guns, mental health, and school security today in Hartford. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, hundreds of gun rights advocates gathered at the capitol early in the day to make one last push. Legislators are poised to pass what they say are some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, including an expansion of the state's assault weapons ban, a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines, and registration requirements for existing magazines that carry 10 rounds or more. As legislators arrived, they were met by loud throngs of gun rights supporters. Robert Crook is the executive director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen. "Most onerous is they're attacking us and we're the good guys. If you want to attack somebody, attack the -- course, she's dead." He's speaking of Nancy Lanza, who's son Adam killed her before going to the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 others, and then committing suicide. "You can't prosecute her, you can't prosecute him. So who do you go after? It doesn't make sense to go after the legitimate citizen who has done nothing wrong." Crook says legislators aren't thinking clearly. "They're operating on emotion. They're also operating on reelection, like all legislators do." "Am I emotional about what happened in Newtown? Yes." That's Sen. John McKinney. He's the Republican minority leader who represents Newtown. He says emotion is just part of the debate. "But it is there along with logic, reason, public policy, trying to make it safer." The senate started its debate early this afternoon with spectators in the chamber. Democratic Senator Martin Looney made the case for tougher gun laws. "There is nothing in this bill that should be seen as improperly infringing upon the rights of legitimate gun owners under either the Second Amendment...either under the Second Amendment of the constitution or the corresponding provisions of our own state constitution." Debate continues in the senate. When it's finished, the bill will move to the house. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.