Rell, leaders discuss rising influx of guns
Gregory B. Hladky, Capitol Bureau Chief, 02/15/2006
HARTFORD — The guns used in Connecticut’s recent wave of violent urban crime and where they are coming from were major topics of discussion at a summit Tuesday between Gov. M. Jodi Rell and 15 municipal leaders.
Rell said there was broad agreement that the flood of firearms onto the streets is turning into what Bridgeport Mayor John M. Fabrizi described as "an epidemic."
But neither state nor local law enforcement officials are able to say exactly where all these guns are coming from or why this is occurring now. Nor were there any simple solutions offered.
"I would venture to say that more than 75 percent of our discussion today (was) talking about guns, how they are coming into the state," said Rell.
"In all candor, what we are seeing right now are a number of guns that are not registered; they are not necessarily stolen or lost," said Rell. "We don’t know where they’re coming from." The governor said renewed efforts are being made to track the weapons to their sources.
"We have seen a change in the trafficking of firearms over the past 10 years in this state," said state Public Safety Commissioner Leonard C. Boyle, a former federal prosecutor.
Boyle said that, "previously, most of the illegal guns and guns that were being used to commit crimes in the cities were coming in from the south, usually having been originally purchased at inexpensive firearm shows."
"We’re now finding that a lot of the guns that are showing up having been used in violent crimes in the cities were in fact purchased locally, often by drug addicts who then trade those guns with their drug dealers for a much higher rate of return than they could get by simply paying cash for their drugs," said Boyle.
Murders in New Haven doubled between 2003 and last year, according to statistics provided by New Haven police, reversing a decade long downward trend in the number of violent deaths in the city.
Rell, a Republican, called the summit in response to a dramatic increase in gun violence in cities across the state in recent months. Among the chief elected officials attending the conference were two rivals for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Stamford Mayor Daniel Malloy.
"We have to act now," said Rell. "It’s not about politics, it’s about doing something to protect our children." She said she is considering changing some of her new budget proposals in response to the discussions with local municipal leaders.
Malloy said he agreed there is "a plethora of guns available in Connecticut" and that there should be the same kind of national, state and local effort now as in the early 1990s to deal with that decade’s crime wave.
DeStefano said the meeting with the governor was "very nice" but that the "measure of the meeting is going to be in the dollars." He said federal and state funding for local law enforcement efforts has plunged in recent years, and that Rell’s recent budget plan doesn’t sufficiently address the issue of urban crime.
The co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, D-East Haven, said the apparently easy availability of guns in Connecticut mirrors a national trend.
Lawlor said part of the blame must rest on a relaxation of federal gun control and gun reporting laws under the administration of Republican President George W. Bush. "There are a lot more guns in circulation compared to five or six years ago," said Lawlor.
Uhhhh - Hello Gov. Rell, newsflash: THE GANG MEMBERS ARE OUT OF JAIL....
Hartford has 30% Unemployment.... this is why we are now having broad daylight muggings in the financial district.
Note Lawlor "closing loopholes" (meaning banning guns they didn't ban before)
The next two big gun control pushes in CT will be (1) for the state to authourize/track private sales of rifles and shotgun and (2) official law that you must report if you lose a firearm or it is stolen.