HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut's state and federal leaders reached Thursday to President Joe Biden's announcement of a half-dozen executive actions aimed at addressing the proliferation of gun violence across the nation that he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment."
It's the president's first gun control measures since taking office.
“The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as a nation,” Biden said during remarks at the White House.
Ahead of the announcement, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in a tweet that "every corner of America is impacted by [gun] violence."
"I look forward to working with the President to pass commonsense policy that will save lives," he said.
U.S. Rep. John Lason said in a tweet he was glad that the president is taking action to address the gun violence "epidemic."
"We must work to #EndGunViolence," he said in part.
Meanwhile, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong released a statement supporting the president's announcement.
“Eight years ago in the aftermath of the murder of 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut passed some of the toughest gun laws in the nation in the hope that such violence would never touch our state again. Since then, we have continued to strengthen our state's commitment to sensible gun violence prevention,” he said. “Tragically though, we’ve seen thousands more lives claimed by gun violence across the United States."
He continued: "Gun violence does not respect state borders and while Connecticut’s gun laws might be among the strongest in the nation, they can only go so far without strong federal action. That is why it is so important that President Biden is committing to address gun violence with common sense reforms like curbing the accessibility of ghost guns, urging Congress to pass “red flag” laws like those we have in Connecticut, and investing in community programs to reduce urban gun violence."
On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the DOJ would soon provide proposed legislation for a national “red flag” law, more technically known as “extreme risk protective orders” (ERPO) or similar names.
Connecticut was the first state to pass a “red flag law” in 1999 in the wake of the CT Lottery HQ shooting. While that mass shooting was the catalyst, the law is more often invoked to prevent suicides and domestic violence.
There is currently a bill in the legislature to update Connecticut’s law. Key provisions include expanding the list of people who can petition a judge beyond law enforcement to include medical professionals, family, significant others, and people living with the subject, and also having the judge examine the risk of returning the guns when the protective order expires.
Opponents claim this is the seizure of firearms without due process; courts in Connecticut, Florida, and Indiana have ruled this is not the case.
Family members whose children were killed at the Sandy Hook, Connecticut, school massacre in 2012 and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018 attended the president's event.
Biden's Thursday announcement delivers on a pledge the president made last month to take what he termed immediate “common-sense steps” to address gun violence, after a series of mass shootings drew renewed attention to the issue. His announcement came the same day as yet another, this one in South Carolina, where five people were killed.
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