Connecticut commission meets on school safety after Newtown massacre

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 24, 2013 8:01 AM
Connecticut commission meets on school safety after Newtown massacre

By Edith Honan

HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - The Connecticut police investigation into the shooting last month at a Newtown elementary school will continue through June and no criminal prosecution is expected, a state prosecutor said on Thursday.

Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III's comments came during testimony before the opening meeting of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, an expert panel formed by Governor Dannel Malloy that is named for the school where the massacre occurred.

Sedensky said privacy rules make it unlikely that investigators will be able to provide the panel with a mental health history of the shooter, Adam Lanza.

Malloy has tasked the panel with finding ways to improve the safety of schools and the public in the aftermath of the December 14 massacre, which left 20 first graders and six adults dead.

The panel will review current policy and make specific recommendations on public safety, with a particular focus on school safety, mental health, and prevention of gun violence.

The panel's first public hearing included testimony from experts called upon after the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado and the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.

The Connecticut shooting reignited the debate over gun rights in the United States and prompted President Barack Obama to introduce proposals to reduce gun violence and tighten gun control laws. Some states have also called for stricter local rules on guns and ammunition.

The National Rifle Association, the nation's largest gun lobby, fiercely opposes tighter gun controls and has called for armed guards in public schools.

A separate legislative task force on gun violence prevention is due to begin meeting on Friday and to hold a public meeting at Newtown High School on January 30.

(Reporting By Edith Honan; Editing by Paul Thomasch and David Gregorio)