State Representative David Baram (D - Windsor, Bloomfield) released the following statement in response to the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School:
As my family gathered to light the Hanukkah candles on Friday night, a somber feeling prevailed as we tried to understand the horrific tragedy that took place in Newtown, CT that morning. To contemplate the pain of parents returning to an empty house, looking into a child's bedroom, that lived no more, had to be utterly devastating. There is nothing more terrible than to lose a child, especially in a senseless act that might possibly have been prevented. Innocent children who never knew what awaited them. Children that expected to go home to the warmth and safety of their parents. It is an unthinkable disaster that will haunt their families and friends for the rest of their lives.
We must go forward by searching for the good that exists, to make sure that good overcomes evil. We can find good in our love and caring. We can find good in the brave teachers and first responders who gave, or risked their own lives to help the children. We can find good as a town, state and nation, by coming together, to better understand the illness that motivates such crimes, the policies that allow access to firearms, the security necessary to protect our children, and the resources required to sustain those who need help.
What happened in Newtown, can happen in “Any Town”. It doesn’t matter if you live in a city, suburb, or rural area. We are all at risk unless we begin to address some of the core challenges facing this nation. President Obama has made it clear, such policy changes will soon be initiated from the White House. As the Hartford Courant said, it’s long overdue.
One way to make our communities safer is to change the law to provide for reasonable gun control. There are reportedly over 200 million guns in this country today. Approximately 35 people become victims each day of gun violence, and about 12,000 people die each year from such violence.
The goal must be to regulate in the same way we do driving a car, to make sure that gun owners are responsible to be entrusted with a weapon. Gun owners must be screened through a comprehensive background check, on a regular basis, using a national databank that is fully funded and operational. We must regulate automatic and semi automatic weapons, and gun shows that avoid the more stringent regulation imposed on retail sales.
We also need to increase our support for programs that offer help to those with mental disabilities, anger management issues, depression, or hostile propensities. These individuals need our help, and they pose danger not only to themselves, but as we have seen too many times, to society as well.
As we mourn the innocent lives lost in Newtown, and as we contemplate policies to help avoid such tragedies in the future, let the lights of the Holiday Season become a beacon of hope, turning darkness into light, so that we can find the path to recovery, reconciliation, and renewed commitment to make this world better and safer.