FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Richard Ross posed a simple question to four Fairfield legislators Saturday: “Why shouldn’t we have the No. 1 gun control laws in the country?”
The question came at the annual League of Women Voters legislative forum at the Fairfield Museum and History Center. The legislators made gun control the key issue of the forum, which was attended by a small but vibrant group of residents.
“Just because it’s true we lead the nation in gun control doesn’t mean it’s good enough," State Sen. John McKinney (R-Fairfield) said. "We will pass stricter measures that will put us in the forefront of the country.”
State Rep. Kim Fawcett (D-Fairfield) added, “We won’t just do one thing, we’ll do a lot of things.”
McKinney called for a ban on high-capacity magazines, permits for long guns and to buy ammunition. He also called on stronger federal legislation “that mirrors what we do in Connecticut to enforce bans nationwide.”
State Rep. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) also called for bans on assault weapons and high-capacity cartridges, but supported the rights of gun owners. “We must proceed in deliberate balance that respects everyone’s rights,” he said.
State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield), a member of the Public Safety Commission, argued for increasing state aid for mental health.
“We’re not doing a good job of helping people with mental illness in the state," she said. "It’s shameful.”
Fawcett called on citizens to attend the March for Change rally supporting gun control that will be held at the state capitol Feb. 14.
“Individuals have to be a part of the dialogue to support legislation,” she said.
Gun control was not the only topic on the agenda. Campaign finance reform and same-day voter registration were addressed, as was the state economy. After a resident outlined the economic problems facing the state, from the budget deficit to lack of job growth, Kupchick called for more concessions from state employee unions, and McKinney laid the problems at the feet of the Democrats in Hartford.
“There is difficult work ahead to fix the partisan budget from two years ago that has created a multi-billion dollar deficit,” McKinney said.