Newtown school panel to include proposed gun ban in report

AP News
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Posted: Jan 16, 2015 3:40 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An advisory panel charged with looking at public safety in the wake of the deadly Newtown school shooting agreed Friday to include in its final report a recommendation to ban the sale and possession of any gun that can fire more than 10 rounds without reloading.

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, created by Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the wake of the 2012 school shooting, plans to complete its work next month. The report will include dozens of recommendations in three categories: law enforcement and emergency response; safe school design and operation; and mental health and wellness.

In its interim report last March, the commission included the proposed gun ban, which is opposed by the gun lobby and manufacturers. It would go much further than a 2013 Connecticut law which, among other things, expanded the state's assault weapons ban and barred the possession and sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines.

"Whether or not this law would stand the test of constitutionality is not for this commission to decide," said former Hartford Police Chief Bernard Sullivan, a member of the panel. "The commission has expressed very strongly that this is a statement that is needed regarding the lethality of weapons."

Commission members said during a meeting Friday that they want to emphasize that there needs to be more regulation of guns that can inflict mass casualties, even if it causes some inconvenience to recreational shooters.

Twenty children and six educators were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting by a gunman using a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle.

The commission also decided not to include language from the interim report that would have acknowledged the importance of the Connecticut's gun manufacturing industry and would have included a disclaimer that nothing in the report "should be construed as a prohibition against the manufacture of any device legal for sale or possession in other jurisdictions."

Dr. David J. Schonfeld, a commission member and director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, said it made no sense to restrict the commissions' recommendations to only guns sold and possessed in Connecticut.

"We're not writing proposed legislation, we're writing end results, saying this is where we think you guys need to go," said Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, the commission's chairman. "We're hoping that some of our recommendations will go far beyond the borders of the state of Connecticut."

Commission members also decided Friday to use the name of gunman Adam Lanza only once at the beginning of their report, and refer to him by his initials in all further references. They noted the use of his name is hurtful to the victims' families and using it could assist anyone who might want to aggrandize his actions.

Commissioners also agreed to seek permission from the victims' families before using any photos of the 26 people killed in the report's dedication.

They plan to use an appropriate quote from a family or community member to begin and end the report so that the Newtown community has "the first and last say."

The commission has one more scheduled meeting, on Jan. 30 before finalizing the report. Jackson said he hopes it can be released by Valentine's Day.