Sandy Hook commission considering assault weapons ban

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March 1, 2013, 7:06 pm
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(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - As officers rushed to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Dec. 14, they knew there was trouble, but they could not be certain how much.

Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe recalled the 9-1-1 calls for the governor’s Sandy Hook Commission.  

"We had an an active shooter call, but we also had a secondary active shooter call. One that was on the outside of the building and that we had to think about an determine whether that was an accurate report," Chief Kehoe said.

It wasn't, but that's an example of one of the challenges police faced that day. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults inside the school before killing himself and, the commissioner appointed by the governor is trying to find ways to make sure it never happens again.  

On Friday, they got a primer in guns from the state police ,including a look at what Lanza's primary weapon probably looked like.

Conn. State Police Trooper Joseph Delehanty held up a long gun with a pistol grip and told commissioners, "The rifle used in Newtown, that was a legally purchased firearm. It looked similar to this one.

The legality of that rifle could change. Among the recommendations the commission is considering is a ban on assault weapons, and it is likely the members would want the type of gun Lanza used included. The state's police chiefs are all for that.

Chief Matthew Reed of South Windsor is with the Conn. Police Chief's Association.  

"Police officers around the country and around the world are killed by assault weapons all the time and if we can limit the firepower that somebody has access to then we support that," Chief Reed said.

They are also in favor of limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds and universal background checks on anyone who buys any kind of gun.

The name of this panel is the Sandy Hook Commission, but let's face it: Gun crime didn't stop after Dec. 14, 2012 and the panel knows that. In fact they're taking into account something that happened this week here in Connecticut.

A 47-year-old, mentally unstable grandmother from Stonington, Debra Dennison, shot and killed her grandsons, a 2 year old and a 6 month old, before shooting herself. There are reports the revolver she used belonged to her husband.

Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson chairs the Sandy Hook Commission.

"We're not hyper-focusing on the episode in Sandy Hook Elementary even though that's our charge. Our job is to try to create some logical, common sense proposals that will prevent that. That will prevent this tragedy in eastern Connecticut, that will help prevent some of those things from happening," Jackson said.

They expect to make recommendations to the governor by the middle of March. 

Tags: hartford, connecticut, lawmakers, Newtown, Brian Burnell, law enforcement, sandy hook elementary school, assault weapons ban, sandy hook commission
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