Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The Sandy Hook Legislative Template
It is abundantly clear from remarks made by the members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation, both before and after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, that the litmus test of effective gun legislation is that such legislation should prevent future Sandy Hooks.
U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal said following Mr. Obama’s speech, in the course of which the president devoted several minutes to the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, “…we should be joining together to enact real change. Change that will help our law enforcement officials keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm. Change that will ensure that laws on the books are enforced. Change that will strengthen our mental health system. And change that will keep our children safe from tragic acts of violence…” (emphasis mine) Mr. Blumenthal characterized that portion of the president’s State of the Union address in which he mentioned the slaughter of school children in Newtown as a “stirring call to action against gun violence in America, to prevent another tragedy like the one that befell Newtown (emphasis mine)”.
It should be noted that at this point the criminal investigation report on Sandy Hook is still in a process stage; a definitive report likely will be issued AFTER Connecticut’s General Assembly has produced its legislative remedies.
Thus far, investigators have not affirmed that the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, was suffering from a mental disorder. When a parent of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook slaughter asked Lieutenant Paul Vance, one of the lead investigators, to share with the parents of the victims Mr. Lanza’s medical records, she was told that such data must await a final report on “a pending criminal investigation.” The notion that Mr. Lanza was suffering from a mental disorder presently is little more than inference drawn from the horrific nature of the crime; no hard data thus far has been publically presented to show that Mr. Lanza was mentally incapacitated. Neither does the public record indicate that Mr. Lanza had taken psychotropic drugs; a few commentators have pointed to causal links between some psychotropic medications and mass murders.
Mr. Blumenthal is not the only member of Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation to link prophylactic gun control legislation with the Sandy Hook mass murders.
Newly elected U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said, “For those of us in Connecticut, we are still living with the horror of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, but the healing process is helped knowing we have a president who is going to do everything in his power to make sure no community ever has to go through this again. There are no excuses anymore (emphasis mine).''
Newly elected U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty was moved “by President Obama's call for real and meaningful change to save lives in the wake of the Newtown tragedy (emphasis mine)."
And longtime U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro thought it important to point out that “Victims of gun violence all had names. We should remember to honor them by putting an end to this (emphasis mine)."
The question arises: Are members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation overpromising?
Consider: As yet there is no data publically confirmed by criminal investigators or members of Governor Dannel Malloy’s investigatory committee that the Sandy Hook shooter was suffering from a mental defect instrumental in provoking his crime. None of the data released so far suggests that Mr. Lanza had been taking psychotropic drugs, which some claim to have triggered other mass murders in the United States and elsewhere.
No public data suggests that Mr. Lanza had lawful access to the weapons he brought with him to Sandy Hook Elementary School, an arsenal that included two semi-automatic pistols and a shotgun apparently left in the trunk of his mother’s car, in addition to the semi-automatic long rifle Mr. Lanza used to mow down 20 students and six faculty members of Sandy Hook Elementary School. The mass murderer’s weapon of choice was a very lethal semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle, but any of the weapons he carried with him, most especially the shotgun, might have been as lethal.
Connecticut’s gun laws are comprehensive but not quite as austere as those in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Obama’s old political stomping grounds, which is pretty much the murder capital of the United States. Today in Chicago, there is more fatal gun violence than in the heyday of prohibition gangsters such as Al Capone, and none of the gun laws on Chicago’s books have effectively kept Chicago’s population “safe from tragic acts of violence,” to use the phrase often in the mouths of Connecticut politicians.
If preventing future Sandy Hooks is the intended purpose of national and state politicians who hope to “keep children safe” from determined mass killers such as Mr. Lanza, what efficacious laws more severe than those of Chicago -- short of repealing the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, so that both CRIMINALS and law abiding gun owners may be effectively disarmed – do the members of Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation suggest might accomplish their noble purpose?
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