The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association is neither endorsing nor condemning the Obama Gun Control plan presented by the president on last week, but CPCA President Jack Daly said one thing is for sure: the voices of Connecticut’s law enforcement officials will be heard.
Daly, police chief of the Southington Police Department, said the organization has already heard from countless local, state and federal legislators since the Newtown tragedy and is working closely to help assure measures taken are both appropriate and effective.
“Before any laws are vetted, all these proposals will go in front of state and federal legislators and the police chiefs association will have a hand in those discussions,” Daly said. “We haven’t had a chance to read through the specifics of President (Barack) Obama’s plan.”
The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, which represents municipal departments from across the state and works closely with legislators, has not taken a stance on the Obama Gun Control plan. Daly said representatives will meet before making any official statements.
President Obama on Wednesday unveiled what is being called the most ambitious gun control agenda in decades, initiating 23 separate executive actions aimed at curbing what he called “the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” according to The Washington Post.
According to the White House fact sheet, Obama’s plan includes:
- Reinstating and strengthening the assault weapons ban,
- Restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines,
- Getting rid of armor-piercing bullets,
- Ending a freeze on research into gun violence,
- Providing additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime
- Calling on Congress to pass a $4 billion proposal to help communities keep 15,000 police officers on the streets, as well as new gun trafficking legislation that would “impose serious penalties on those who help get guns into the hands of criminals".
- Making schools safer by giving communities the opportunity to hire up to 1,000 school resource officers and school counselors.
The measures, presented in a White House ceremony, will go before Congress for review and the president urged bipartisan action to help prevent potential future tragedies like the one that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown.
The measure has been praised by state officials, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who called for states to also introduce legislation to help strengthen gun control efforts nationwide.
“The common sense measures (Obama) proposed today are something that we should all be able to agree on, and I want to commend him and the Vice President for their work on this issue,” Malloy said.
“I have no doubt that, state by state, we will deal with the issue of gun violence. Over the coming months, I will do everything in my power to make sure that Connecticut is a national leader in preventing gun violence,” he said in a statement. “We will take steps to make sure that our gun laws are as tight as they are reasonable, that our mental health system is accessible to those that need it, and that our law enforcement personnel have all the tools they need to protect public safety, particularly in our schools.”
The National Rifle Association, however, condemned the measure and the organization said in a press release that while members applaud efforts to enhance safety for U.S. citizens, they believe the program will be ineffective in addressing the real issues.
In their statement, the NRA stated that children and societal safety remains a top priority but said that “attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation.”
“The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law,” the statement said. “We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children.”
From a local perspective, whether the proposal from Obama passes as presented or not, Daly said law enforcement agencies will be prepared to implement any new legislation and will make the adjustments necessary to enforce the new laws.
“Each year when a law changes, it is our responsibility to adjust and that’s exactly what we will do here in Southington,” Daly said. “We don’t make the laws, we enforce them and we will do what we need to do in order to achieve that.”
Patch Senior Regional Editor Elissa Bass contributed to this report.