Lawmakers hear from public on gun violence, mental health

Posted: Updated:
© A Newtown man told the committee things are moving too quickly and wants task force to wait more facts. © A Newtown man told the committee things are moving too quickly and wants task force to wait more facts.

A forum was held Tuesday night in Newtown with state lawmakers to discuss gun violence, mental health and school security following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Officials said they're glad they didn't act as quickly as New York, who passed the first gun control laws since Newtown.

"A week or two late is not any failure. It's important to make sure we get it right," said Senate Minority Leader John McKinney. "Between the snowstorm and additional information people were looking for, we're doing pretty well with our target."

State leaders said New York was too hasty and they think it's good Connecticut is taking its time. But, a few people argued the state needs to slow down even more.

"Things are moving far too quickly, nationally, locally. There's a lot of emotion going on. There's a lot of people who are expecting answers now," said one unidentified man at the meeting. "And I think that the most important thing that we have to do is wait until an official story comes out."

The town hall-style meeting was organized by Newtown Action Alliance and was attended by state Reps. Mitch Bolinsky, Dan Carter and Lonnie Reed as well as McKinney.

"I suspect some people maybe on both sides will think it either went too far or didn't go far enough," McKinney said. "Historically, that would tell me we're kind of in the right place."

The lawmakers worked on the bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety, which was formed after a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

The task force is expected to vote on a bill that covers gun violence, mental health and school security by mid-March.

"We demand a vote on legislations and we deserve a vote so we hope that the legislators will honor that," said Newtown Action Alliance Co-Chairman Po Murray.

The task force has held four public hearings and the organization plans to hold one more before they announce their legislation.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.