Written by Alfred Branch.
For his leadership after the Sandy Hook tragedy in advocating for and signing strong gun control legislation in the state, Gov. Dannel Malloy was honored Tuesday by Connecticut Against Gun Violenceand its subsidiary March for Change.
Malloy worked tirelessly in the months following the December mass shooting, and four months after that event he signed what is considered the nation's fourth strongest set of gun control laws, according to CAGV's executive director Ron Pinciaro.
“The governor showed remarkable courage on that day, and he never let up,” said Pinciaro.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Jim Himes (D-4), two of the featured speakers at Tuesday's event at Christ and Holy Trinity Church in Westport, both emotionally commended Malloy for his efforts. They also voiced regret that politicians in Washington could not succeed in passing gun background check legislation, despite 90 percent of American citizens supporting the measure.
“This is a somber moment for me and Sen. Blumenthal,” said Himes, adding that he shares in the celebration of Gov. Malloy's “courage and leadership” but he is deeply disappointed in Washington's inability to follow suit.
Blumenthal echoed those sentiments, saying that one of his toughest days as a public official occurred when he had to face the families of the Newtown victims and tell them why the background check legislation failed despite having 55 Senate votes.
“I told them that our work wasn't done yet, and one of the children in the room said we're not even close to being done,” said Blumenthal.
Malloy thanked the two groups for the honor, and said his efforts, and those of the other legislators who passed the state's new gun control laws, have made them targets of anti-gun control advocates (“I've been on the cover of the NRA's magazine, and not in a good way,” he joked).
It's a distinction that he take some pride in, but one that he doesn't take pride in is that Washington could not get the background check legislation over the goal line.
“I have to undergo a background check to get on a plane, but people who can buy something that can kill don't have to do so,” said Malloy. “It makes no sense.”
So he laid down a challenge to the National Rifle Association and anti-gun control advocates, who he believes are driven by profits from selling guns, to prove him wrong.
“If I'm wrong that all that drives you is profits, then join us in this cause,” he said of passing national background check legislation. “Prove me wrong by joining with us.”