Selectmen discuss updating 2013 resolution on guns
DARIEN — The nationwide movement demanding an end to gun violence that spurred Saturday’s March For Our Lives has now also touched the Board of Selectmen.
At Monday’s meeting, Selectman Pam Sparkman, who attended the local March For Our Lives rally in Stamford, alluded to a 2013 resolution passed by the board in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place in December 2012.
“We should think about putting together a new reaffirmation of a resolution that would reflect our support of legislation that’s going to our state senators and to the federal government,” Sparkman said.
The Democrat said she had received various emails from concerned parents in town following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. in February.
The Jan. 14, 2013 resolution, unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, stated that preventing future crimes like the one that happened in Newtown requires a “holistic approach to safety, mental health awareness and support as well as meaningful gun regulation” while preserving “all Constitutional rights.” Specifically, the resolution stated the board’s support for effective background checks and the restricting of commercial availability of military-grade assault weapons, military-grade ammunition and high-capacity magazines.
Fellow Democrat Marc Thorne agreed with Sparkman; the other three selectmen, Republicans, questioned how proposed modifications would be made.
Selectmen Kip Koons and Susan Marks asked the Democrats on the board what changes, if any, would have to be made to address the mental health aspect of the 2013 resolution.
“Are we doing this now to encourage Hartford or Hartford and Washington?” Marks asked regarding legislative efforts occurring at the state and federal levels.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, too, said the impetus for change now lays with Washington, referencing state legislation passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.
“(In 2013 and 2014) the work done in the state of Connecticut was meaningful and the state now has some of the strictest gun laws in the country,” she said. “It really is up to our federal foundation at this point to work across the aisle and see if they can get people to agree with them. I don’t know that we need to do anything more.”
In 2013, the Connecticut legislature expanded a ban on assault weapons and magazines with more than 10 rounds. Owners of assault weapons and ammunition had to register with the state.
“In the spirit of working collaboratively with the board, the last thing I want to do is begin a political problem here on the Board of Selectmen,” Stevenson said. “Let’s work together to try and craft something that might be agreeable to the majority — maybe not to all — and go from there.”