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Addressing the Senate judiciary committee, Chief Fernando Spagnolo explained how his community has benefited from Connecticut’s strict gun laws, many of which have been adopted since the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings.

“The events of that day, the loss of those young children and their teachers, shook the nation to its very core,” said Spagnolo.

Within a week there’ve been two mass shootings – one in Georgia another in Colorado. While Spagnolo and others advocated for stricter gun laws Tuesday, there was opposition.

“Every time there’s a shooting we play this ridiculous theatre where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders,” said Texas Republican Ted Cruz.

During his testimony, which he provided remotely, Spagnolo said between 2014 and 2019 there was a 41% reduction in gun homicide and 15% reduction in gun suicides in Waterbury. He attributed this to Connecticut’s gun laws.

Among Connecticut’s gun laws are mandatory background checks and disqualification for felons and those with a history of mental illness.

In 1999, Mike Lawlor helped craft some of these laws when he was an advisor for Governor Dannel Malloy. Lawlor, who is now a University of New Haven associate professor, helped author the Connecticut Red Flag Gun Laws. He said other states could benefit from what’s being done here.

“It’s not about banning all guns. It’s about regulating access to these firearms,” Lawlor said.

Spagnolo agrees and would like to see surrounding states mirror what Connecticut has done.

“It would certainly reduce the amount of guns that get in the hands of prohibited persons. It would make our community safer,” explained Spagnolo in an interview with NBC Connecticut following the hearing.



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