Conn., NRA Propose Different Gun Violence Solutions

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In the wake of the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December, state lawmakers have agreed on some of the toughest gun control laws in the country.

The measure has bi-partisan support with the help of a task force made up of Republicans and Democrats. It could be signed into law soon by the state's Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy.

"The strategy is to have worked together, to craft the piece of legislation how the people believe can get done, and that's the piece of legislation we'll be hearing on Wednesday," said State Rep. Gary Holder Winfield, D-New Haven.

Among other things, the law would ban sales of high capacity ammunition magazines, require background checks for private gun sales, and set up a statewide "dangerous weapon offender" registry, which lawmakers claim is a first nationwide. It would also require an immediate universal background check for firearm sales.

Parents of some of the children murdered in the attack on the Sandy Hook School want the law to go further, to allow confiscation of large capacity magazines even from those who already own them.

"We specifically want an up or down vote on the banning of these large capacity magazines with no grandfathering clause," Nicole Hockley, mother of shooting victim Dylan Hockley explained.

"We ask ourselves every day, every minute, if those magazines had 10 rounds, forcing the shooter to reload at least six more times, would our children be alive today?" she asked.

Jackie and Mark Barden, parents of another Sandy Hook victim, Daniel, say they hope the new restrictions will help prevent another tragedy.

"It's our job to make sure it doesn't happen...for our son," Mrs. Barden said. "I think everybody needs to think about it and look into their hearts and try to do what's necessary to make the changes that have to happen."

While legislators consider the Connecticut bill, another parent of a Sandy Hook victim was supporting a new National School Shield initiative by the National Rifle Association, announced Tuesday.

Mark Mattioli, whose son James died inside the school, was on hand to endorse the NRA plan.

It includes a goal to enable designated school employees to be trained in the use of firearms and carry them. It would also promote security and safety programs coordinated between schools and state and local governments.

Asa Hutchinson, former Republican congressman and former head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, was tasked by the NRA to produce an in-depth report on increasing school security after Sandy Hook.

Hutchinson clarified that his role was to address school safety rather than gun control legislation.

"I have not focused on the separate debate in Congress about firearms and how they should be handled," he explained.

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