Sandy Hook Promise welcomes the broad focus of the President's proposals. We appreciate his decisive action to help address through Executive Order immediate opportunities for reform, and we applaud his broader commitment to finding meaningful common sense solutions to help prevent similar acts of violence in other communities in America. Hopefully this will begin a thoughtful debate in Congress on how best to prevent future incidents of gun violence.
However, a solution won't happen just in Washington. We encourage everyone, citizens and politicians, to make and uphold the Sandy Hook Promise, to engage in a constructive national dialogue on all of the important issues involved. As an organization, our purpose is to ensure that we have that dialogue and take action, not just in Washington but in our communities and our homes.
Gov. Dannel Malloy:
"In the hours after the worst of our fears were confirmed, in the midst of the grief and sorrow over the loss of 20 innocent children and six dedicated educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there was one question on the minds of people across Connecticut and around the nation: How do we make sure this never happens again?
"Today the President took the critical first step toward answering that question. The common sense measures he 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.
"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. 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.
"But we can't go it alone. We need leadership at the federal level, and for the first time in a long time, we have it.
"We will not be able to stop gun violence completely, but we can make our country and our children safer. We owe it to them, and to all those lost in Sandy Hook, Aurora and every other city that has lost someone to gun violence, to try."
Senator Chris Murphy:
These are strong recommendations, and Congress should act on them now-before another mass tragedy occurs. If assault weapons and high capacity magazines were not so readily available, I am convinced there would be more little boys and girls alive in Newtown today. If background checks were universal, our city streets would be safer. There are no longer any excuses for inaction. If the horror of Sandy Hook doesn't move Congress to act on common sense gun laws, I have no idea what will. I'm so appreciative of the leadership of President Obama and Vice President Biden on this issue, especially their willingness to involve the Sandy Hook parents and families in this effort. Now, it's time to get to work.
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty:
"I'm extremely encouraged by the continuing commitment President Obama and Vice-President Biden have shown to enacting real, meaningful change to save lives, and I'm grateful to them for the care and support they've shown for the Newtown community.
"Above all, this is about saving lives. Families in Newtown want to know their children are safe and that other families are spared the same horrific loss they've experienced. I commend the President for taking immediate and concrete steps today to reduce gun violence. I also agree that we need a commonsense, comprehensive approach to prevent gun violence that includes reinstatement and strengthening of the ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring universal background checks, and addressing gun trafficking.
"What happened just over a month ago in Newtown was an unimaginable tragedy. What happens now is up to each of us. This is a call to action for Congress and for the majority of Americans who believe we can respect the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners and we can save lives. Over the coming weeks and months I will continue working with the Administration, my colleagues on the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and in the Congress, and my constituents in Newtown and throughout the district to protect our children, our families and our communities."
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro:
"The plan President Obama announced today is a strong first step, but now Congress needs to take action. Several critical ideas the President outlined, such as closing background check loopholes and banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines need legislative action to be reality. We should waste no time moving forward on these proposals.
"And the Presidential Memorandum signed today directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the causes and prevention of gun violence is great news for our researchers. For 15 years Congress has intimidated them into turning a blind eye to the research that could help us understand why gun violence happens, and stop it from devastating the lives of too many families. As the senior Democrat on the subcommittee that funds the CDC, I will do everything in my power to make sure these arbitrary restrictions are history.
"Finally, I am especially pleased that he included making additional mental health resources available a major part of his proposal, particularly to train mental health professional to serve students and young adults. Eighty percent of adults and 67 percent of children who need mental health services do not receive treatment. This must end and I look forward to making these proposals a reality.
"President Obama outlined an expansive plan, and that is exactly as it should be, as there is no single solution to stopping gun violence. Between the slaughter of the innocents that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School just over one month ago and yesterday at noon, 917 Americans were killed by guns. Those 917 families, along with the ones at Virginia Tech, Newtown and Aurora, need us to act now."
Congressman Joe Courtney:
"President Obama acted on the promise he made 30 days ago at Newtown High School to make our kids safer. His orders will plug holes in the background check system and help local school districts have police security. The common-sense changes to the background check program will stop guns from getting into the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed, while preserving Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
"From the beginning, this necessary discussion has been marred by national NRA leadership's attempts to divide the American people and prevent progress that even an overwhelming majority of gun owners and the NRA's law-abiding membership believes is necessary. These reasonable proposals have been suggested to me in conversations with responsible gun owners in Connecticut since the Newtown tragedy.
"President Obama set the ball in motion today. Now it is up to Congress to build on that solid start. We can do this."
State President Don Williams and State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney:
"We must reduce gun violence in the United States," said Senator Williams. "President Obama's proposal to mandate background checks for all firearms sales, to ban assault weapons and prohibit high capacity magazines is a positive step to reduce violence. We can't, however, rely on Congress to act. In Connecticut, our children's safety is not a partisan issue and I am pleased to join with Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly in crafting a plan to reduce violence, improve school security and address access to mental health services."
"Over the last several years we've seen mass shootings in Arizona, Wisconsin, Colorado and now Newtown; in addition to the gun violence that plagues our cities. It is imperative that we act now. Forty percent of gun sales nationwide are conducted without background checks and that must to change. The secondary market has led to far too many guns on the streets. The president's and vice president's plan is ambitious and I look to working on the state level to take strong and decisive action to reduce gun violence, increase access to mental health services, and improve school security," said Senator Looney.
Yesterday, state Democratic and Republican legislative leaders announced the creation of a special bipartisan task force on gun violence prevention and children's safety.
The task force, formed in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, will conduct a review of current law and make recommendations on a range of potential legislation to prevent gun violence, enhance school security and ensure the availability of mental health services in Connecticut.
The task force's goal is to produce an emergency certified bill for a vote in the General Assembly in late February.