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'Connecticut Coming to Newtown': Task Force Will Host Public Hearing

The Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety Task Force is hosting a series of public hearings as they look into the issues of school safety, gun violence and mental health in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.


Newtown's representatives are taking major roles as Connecticut seeks to bring about legislative and policy changes in response to the Newtown school shooting.

State congressional leaders, including Senate Republican Leader John McKinney -- whose district contains Newtown -- announced the schedules and membership of groups charged with examining school safety, gun violenceand mental health under the auspices of the newly formed Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety Task Force.

As expected, the group will spend an unspecified amount of time in Newtown. Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-106), part of the school security committee, told Patch they could be on the ground between 10 and 12 days.

"The state of Connecticut is coming to Newtown," said Bolinsky. "We'll spend the next 10-12 days coming up with our challenges, doing some research, and listen to the community. Then we'll come out to the community and let them ground us -- and correct us, correct us, correct us."

Bolinsky promised a high degree of public access.

"There's nothing on this subcommittees that is not steerable, obserable or reportable," he said.

A public hearing will take place at Newtown High School on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m.

Gun safety, school security and mental health are among the hot button topics that have developed locally and nationally since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School took the life of 20 students and six educators.

As part of its work, the task force has scheduled a series of public hearings — all of which will take place in room 2C at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The schedule is as follows:

  • School Safety: Jan. 25 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Gun Safety: Jan. 28 at 10 a.m.
  • Mental Health Issues: Jan. 29 at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also created the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission to look into the aforementioned issues.

The newly created subgroups and their membership are as follows:

Gun Violence

  • Sen. Martin Looney, Co-chair
  • Rep. Craig Miner, Co-chair
  • Rep. Gerald Fox III
  • Rep. Stephen Dargan
  • Rep. Bob Godfrey
  • Rep. Toni Walker
  • Rep. Rosa Rebimbas
  • Rep. Janice Giegler
  • Rep. Dan Carter
  • Sen. Eric Coleman
  • Sen. John Fonfara
  • Sen. Joan Hartley
  • Sen. John Kissel
  • Sen. Scott Frantz
  • Sen. Tony Guglielmo
  • Sen. Kevin Witkos

School Safety

  • Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, Co-chair
  • Sen. Toni Boucher, Co-chair
  • Rep. Roberta Willis
  • Rep. Patricia Widlitz
  • Rep. Diana Urban
  • Rep. Tim Ackert
  • Rep. Tim LeGeyt
  • Rep. Whit Betts
  • Rep. Mitch Bolinsky
  • Sen. Dante Bartolomeo
  • Sen. Andrea Stillman
  • Sen. Beth Bye
  • Sen. Andrew Maynard
  • Sen. Art Linares
  • Sen. Mike McLachlan
  • Sen. Kevin Witkos

Mental Health

  • Sen. Toni Harp, Co-chair
  • Rep. Terrie Wood, Co-chair
  • Rep. Susan Johnson
  • Rep. Cathy Abercrombie
  • Rep. Robert Megna
  • Rep. Betsy Ritter 
  • Rep. Prasad Srinivasan
  • Rep. DebraLee Hovey
  • Sen. Terry Gerratana
  • Sen. Gayle Slossberg
  • Sen. Joe Crisco
  • Sen. Rob Kane
  • Sen. Kevin Kelly
  • Sen. Joe Markley
  • Sen. Jason Welch
Steven DeVaux January 18, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Leave them alone, will you?
Lisa January 19, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Having a "task force" meeting at Newtown HS on Jan. 30 is anything more than political manipulation is just sickening. This "hearing" belongs in Hartford.
James Nacnud January 19, 2013 at 08:28 PM
I hope they remember the Cheshire Home Invasion when they discuss policy. Can they tell Dr. Michaela Petit that he can not have more than 7 bullets in a magazine the net time Connecticut releases violent repeat offenders. Part of the equation that everyone seems to ignore is that we have the right to self defense. When our state allows multiple repeat offenders out on the street and they commit the horrific acts as they did in Cheshire how dare Obama and Malloy tell us we cannot have more than 7 bullets to protect our families. The woman in Georgia who defended herself and her two young children ran out of bullets and the criminal was still not incapacitated. Now if she was attacked by multiple assailants, under the proposed laws, her and her children would be dead. If Chris Murphy wants to hide under his bed and dial 911, while his wife and children are being attacked as was done in the Cheshire Home Invasion ( Murphy is from Cheshire ?) that is entirely up to him. But do not impose your senseless and ineffective rules on the law abiding citizens. In summary this is a shameless promotion of a political agenda to disarm the American people. To utilize the deaths of these children to promote the attack on t 2nd Amendment Before the first funeral Diane Feinstein was waving her anti gun legislation around and Congressman Nadler suggested that Obama "exploit" this tragedy. Totally and utterly shameless.
Darrell January 20, 2013 at 03:29 AM
If someone feels that 7 bullets in a single clip is not enough to defend themselves then maybe those people should spend more time at the gun range so that it is. What are the statistics of intruders that stick around if they are being shot at? I would guess very few do unless they are their for personal reasons. They are not trying to take away the rights under the second amendment they are simply trying to find a compromise between those rights and public safety.
Lisa January 20, 2013 at 11:27 AM
There is no compromise with CRIMINALS. We have the right to as many bullets as they have. There is no room for compromise in the Constitution. It's the law. We will not be infringed upon.
David Stowe January 20, 2013 at 03:00 PM
Perhaps some of you that keep screaming that everyone is trying to take away your second amendment rights should do a little research and understand the second amendment, what it says, what the supreme court has recently said on the matter and how the second amendment interacts with your other rights. The most conservative supreme court in the last 100 years has recently ruled in both Heller and McDonald that the second amendment is not absolute and regulation and restrictions are allowed. No one taking away your guns. This hysteria and paranoia have to stop. People need to be able to discuss these things in a rational reasonable way with a firm grasp of the facts, not perceived truths and entrenched ideaology. If you are so worried about your constitutional rights I suggest you not worry about your second amendment rights which no one is going to take away, but look to the recent renewal of the Patriot Act which passed without so much as a whisper from the Tea Party or left wing progressives.
Douglas Brennan January 22, 2013 at 11:36 AM
David: The Supreme Court does not reflect America in any way shape or form. It has often been wrong on issues as often as it has been right. As a student of the law you should realize that if we want to change the Constitution there is a process. As a country we are just too lazy to do the heavy lifting required just as we are too lazy to actually declare war when we are fighting them.

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