Town Heals and Remembers

Doctors Hope to Influence State Gun Laws

By Liz Dahlem
|  Friday, Feb 1, 2013  |  Updated 11:24 AM EDT
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Doctors Hope to Influence State Gun Laws

Doctors want to influence state gun laws.

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A group of local doctors, police officers and teachers met at the Lyceum in Hartford on Friday morning to talk about reducing firearm violence in Connecticut in the hopes that their ideas will help lawmakers make changes to our state's gun laws.

On Dec. 14, 20 children and six staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School lost their lives when Adam Lanza, 20, went on a shooting rampage in the school.

Now, more than ever, the medical community is focusing on how to get guns out of the hands of youths.

"Year after year, more Americans are dying by gun fire than in any other high-income country," said Dr. Matthew Miller, associate director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, who has been studying ways to prevent firearm injuries and deaths for more than 20 years.

Dr. Miller said he believes part of the problem is access to guns in the home.

"When you reduce access to firearms, you're not only preventing a suicide today, you're reducing the rate of suicide for that entire population for today and tomorrow," he said.

Doctor Brandan Campbell, a pediatric surgeon at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, treats children with gun wounds every week and agrees with Dr. Miller.

“Guns need to be stored safely. There are certain types of guns that are more dangerous than others and we hope that those kinds of recommendations are going to come out of the experts policy forum today," he said. 

Lieutenant Paul Vance, of the state police, said it's also important for people to understand what kind of weapon they're buying, especially with children in the house.

"They don't quite understand what an assault weapon is, what a revolver is,” he said. “They sound very basic, but they're very important things people need to comprehend or understand."

The panel will present its recommendations to lawmakers at the state Capitol, where the debate continues over changing our state's gun laws.

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