Conn. Gov. Signs Law Creating Sandy Hook First Responders' Fund - NECN

Conn. Gov. Signs Law Creating Sandy Hook First Responders' Fund



    Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Program will be privately funded; it will benefit first responders, school employees, others dealing with mental health issues as result of tragedy (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) – Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy Tuesday signed a bill providing mental health assistance to first responders and other workers who were there, in Newtown, the day 20 students and six staff members were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That tragedy has grabbed center stage during this legislative session. But despite all the talk related to Sandy Hook, this is the only legislation so far.

    Gun control is the 800-pound gorilla. Everyone is waiting to see what lawmakers come up with on that. Supporters of tougher gun laws have made their case. On Monday, those on the other side were lobbying lawmakers.  

    "Our entire constitution is under attack and we need to stop this silliness," says gun rights advocate Linda Czaplinski.  

    The Governor wants a ban on assault weapons and on ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. These people say that goes too far. Jonathan Scalise owns New Britain based Ammunition Storage Components. He says he does not want to see laws passed that would force him to leave the state.

    "The industry is behind the legislature 100-percent when it comes to issues of safety and common sense solutions."

    Republican lawmakers released their own ideas on gun control and they do not include bans on assault weapons and high capacity clips. There is pressure on legislators to get something done in part because of Sandy Hook but also because the issue is dominating the session.

    Rep. Larry Cafero is the House Minority Leader.  

    "This issue, because of the emotions involved, has sort of sucked the oxygen out of the room with regard to this session,” Rep. Cafero says. “We realize that we need to handle this issue one way or another and move on so there's pressure on a whole bunch of fronts.”

    Legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle are meeting every day with the Governor talking about gun control so something will get done. Whether it gets done unanimously as this bill did?  That's unlikely.