Malloy Creates Sandy Hook Advisory Commission

Panel to examine state's gun laws, mental health services and school security measures.

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced the formation of an advisory panel Thursday that will review and recommend changes to state laws and policies in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

The panel will examine Connecticut's gun laws, mental health services, school security and gun violence prevention.

"We don't yet know the underlying cause behind this tragedy, and we probably never will," Malloy said.  "But that can't be an excuse for inaction.  I want the commission to have the ability to study every detail, so they can help craft meaningful legislative policy changes."

Malloy appointed Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson to lead the commission, which will be made up of about 15 members, including experts from the fields of education, law enforcement, mental health and emergency response.

"This commission will look for ways to make sure our gun laws are as tight as they are reasonable, that our mental health system can reach those that need its help and that our law enforcement has the tools it needs to protect public safety, particularly in our schools," Malloy said.

The panel's initial report will be due to the Governor by March 15.

Malloy said he has been a long-time proponent of stricter gun laws, including the federal Brady Bill assault rifle ban that was allowed to expire in 2004.  The ban also included high-capacity magazines carrying more than 10 bullets.

Adam Lanza used several high-capacity magazines during his rampage in Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 20 children and six educators Dec. 14.

"In point of fact, if 30-round clips had continued to be illegal in the nation, or, for that matter, in our own state, the availability of that clip to this particular perpetrator may not have existed," Malloy said. "You don't need a 30-round clip to go hunting.  You don't need a 30-round clip to honor the Constitution of the United States.  And I think it's time we have a realistic discussion about the weapons that are being used time and time again in these mass casualty situations."

Mayor Scott Jackson said Gov. Malloy called him Wednesday to ask him to chair the commission.  Despite is duties as mayor of Hamden, he said he is ready to tackle the tough tasks ahead. 

"This is an issue that touches us all.  My son is in first grade," Jackson said.  "I believe very strongly, I do believe it is possibly the most important thing I can be doing right now."

School security will be one of the many topics Jackson and the commission will address.

"Post-Columbine schools have gone through a dramatic transformation.  For 100 years, schools have been community centers, and we have to have a dialog as to where we want that line to be in 2013," Jackson said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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