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Guglielmo, Ackert and Hurlburt Offer Comment on Gun Legislation

It is more than reaction to Newtown, they said.

Posted by Jayme Kunze. Reported and written by Chris Dehnel.

Tolland's state legislators - state Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R), state Rep. Timothy Ackert (R) and state Rep. Bryan Hurlburt (D)  all had animated reactions to gun control measures adopted in Hartford beginning on Wednesday and ending on Thursday.  

The legislation makes Connecticut the toughest state in guns in the U.S. and  prohibits the sale of gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds. 

It also requires background checks for private gun sales, including those at gun shows. 

The legislation broadens Connecticut's current assault weapons ban to include more than 100 gun models. 

The bill sets aside $15 million for expanded school safety and mental health programs, and provides an avenue to create the first registry of dangerous offenders in the U.S.

Guglielmo's take: 

“I knew I was going to vote no. I cannot get by the premise of this bill. You have a deranged young man, a mass murderer who worshipped mass killers. We have ordinary citizens who never caused a problem in the past and never will. How do you connect the dots between the killer and the ordinary citizen? You are punishing the wrong group.  Should we be here without a police report? 

 “I have a lot of rod and gun clubs in my district. I’m a member at one and I’ve gotten to know these people. They are not a problem. We are doing them a great harm. We are lumping them together with a madman. 

“There is an economic component to this.  Connecticut has a huge industry that produces firearms and ammunitions.  We have pride for our history in the firearms industry. We dedicated state money to make the Colt Complex in Hartford an historic landmark. There are 5,000 jobs in our state concentrated in the firearm industry. 

“There is also a component that I only recently learned about, the large number of people who will boycott manufacturers that are in Connecticut because of something called brand damage. These gun buyers boycott manufacturers who make guns in states that have restrictive gun laws.The CEO of Mossberg, a popular gun manufacturer is getting offers every day from other states to have them move their business. 

“Here in Connecticut we tax people too much, we make it hard - almost adversarial - to run a business. You never want to trade money for blood, but if you don’t mention the economic component this argument is not honest. Here we are ready to throw out 5,000 jobs and yet we pay millions in corporate welfare to other companies for fewer jobs in some cases as little as 200 jobs. 

“I’m a grandfather of eight and three of the children are in elementary school and if I thought there was anything in this bill that would make them safer then I would vote for it. There isn’t. 

“We could do good things including: reconstituting the gun trafficking task force and funding it with a million dollars. The task force works. It gets illegal guns off the streets. I support that. We could penalize straw buyers by charging them with tougher crimes and making this type of punishment a real deterrent.  We could put more money in to school security. We could repeal the flawed program of early release from prison. All of those are good things. 

“I think we should do something that does good not just feels good.”

Ackert's thoughts: 

“I don’t believe this bill concentrated enough on the real issue behind the tragedy in Sandy Hook– which is the mental well-being of our children and citizens.

“An overwhelming percentage of this bill puts ordinary citizens at a disadvantage when it comes to protecting themselves and their family from criminals with no respect for the law, and I don’t believe this should have been focus of the legislature.

“It’s also unfortunate that the specifics of this bill were not made available to the public until just hours before the legislature was set for a vote.

“While the bi-partisan task force on gun violence and school safety held many public hearings on the issue, the public was denied the opportunity to speak on the specific language in this bill – and that’s wrong.

“We also have to consider the number of jobs that are at stake with this legislation being enacted. Our state has a long history of gun manufacturing, and this bill sends a bad signal to the manufacturers that have provided our state with great paying jobs for decades. These manufactures have had numerous offers to set up shop in other states because of our bad tax policies and regulations that have been set in place and this bill will only push them further towards moving their business elsewhere. Despite the good intentions of this bill, I cannot whole-heartily support legislation that is this onerous on our state and its citizenry.”

Reaction from Hurlburt:

"Summarizing Rep. Larry Cafero's, the Republican Leader of the House, closing remarks on Thursday morning - the bill does not take people's guns away, the bill does not deny you the ability to protect you and your family in your house, all components of the bill had a public hearing and were discussed thoroughly throughout the course of the task force meetings and the leadership negotiations. 
In my opinion, any inference otherwise is mistaken and misleading.

"I heard from hundreds of constituents and the responses were split between do nothing and do something.  Some of the people supported the NRA's mailer throughout the three towns, and many were disappointed by it.

"If we look at the bill, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, took common sense measures to protect innocent people from criminals, reduced criminal access to weapons and ammunition, required background checks on the sale of all guns, funded school safety, and put in place new measures to identify mentally unstable people early in order to prevent what happened in Sandy Hook.  Adam Lanza would not be able to legally purchase, and stockpile, the ammo used that day under the requirements of this new law.  He would likely have also been offered mental health services earlier.  Both of those things could have prevented the tragedy, we cannot say for sure, but we cannot deny it either.

"It is not a perfect bill, I can agree to that.  I've never had the luxury of voting on a perfect bill and neither has any other legislator.  We should be proud of the balanced approach that was taken - that the bill didn't end up in confiscating private property or failing to acknowledge there were gaps in the system that needed be plugged.  

"Democrats and Republicans came together to find a solution that was agreeable to both and move the state forward.  This is a model that I look forward to using again, and again, in the future.  We put the people first, and a lot of other legislatures should use this as a model themselves."

Here is the legislation voted on by the Connecticut General Assembly. The final vote in the senate was 26 in favor 10 against. The final vote in the house was 105 in favor 44 against.  

The bill was signed by Gov. Dannell P. Malloy on Thursday:

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/TOB/S/2013SB-01160-R00-SB.htm

Here are the summaries of the legislation:Editor's Note: Updated at 10 a.m.  April 5, with state Rep. Bryan Hurlburt's comments.
Bill Eccles April 05, 2013 at 09:08 AM
Regardless of the nature of the bill, it is a continuance of business as usual in Hartford. Ackert's comment, “It’s also unfortunate that the specifics of this bill were not made available to the public until just hours before the legislature was set for a vote." is indicative that the legislative leaders have no concern for their constituency. I am disappointed with with the bill, yes, but even more disappointed with the way that my elected officials are left out of the process until the last minute, until the powers that be are sure that they can ramrod the bill down the proverbial throats of the opposition.
laura April 05, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Senator G. hits the nail on the head. We too often hit a two penny nail with a sledge hammer. What happens? It crushes. I find it difficult to believe every person who voted had time to read and process what was actually being presented. That is a real concern. One should NEVER vote in haste. YES, SOMETHING needed to be done, but this? Do they really think it will STOP the out laws? It will just leave us even more so victims to them. CAn one defend with a bow and arrow against a gun? The REAL problem has still NOT been addressed- mental illness and the fact he used his mom's guns since he was UNable to obtain one of his own already. Too bad there was not some reporting agency for such a thing to investigate! Terribly SAD and tragic, the state of affairs and malreactions to them, rather than real resolutions! Too bad we did not have more intelligent representatives like Senator G! (So thankful we at least have one!).
Steven Jones April 06, 2013 at 01:01 PM
I am glad we have at least one voice in Tolland for bi-partisan approaches to gun-laws, safety, and mental health advocacy. To say that this bill was not made available to the public is disingenuous at best. This bill was crafted and openly discussed for months at a series of public hearings in the CGA building, and in public forums across the state by the Sandy Hook panel and by our Governor. No one was left out unless you closed your eyes, put your hands to your ears, and talked to yourself during the entire process of this bill. Or if you simply prefer to complain constantly online and never took the time to speak with any elected official over the phone or in person.
Emily April 07, 2013 at 07:07 AM
Steven, There may have been discussion and open forums leading up to the drafting of the final bill, But the bill itself and all the intricacies were not released or made available to the public or the legislature for that matter until a day before the vote. Hearing you say we are disingenuous is like hearing Nancy Pelosi say we have to vote for Obamacare to find out what's in it.
Long time resident April 07, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Hard cases make bad law.

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