Senator Blumenthal issued the following statement Thursday regarding the Stamford, Connecticut forum on gun violence:
I regret that I can’t be with you today for this important conversation. I am currently overseas visiting with our troops and meeting with government officials in several Middle East countries. It is critically important that we listen and learn from Connecticut residents, public safety officials, mental health experts and educators as we strive to enact comprehensive gun safety reforms. I joined Senator Murphy last week for a similar conversation in Hartford where we heard from people frustrated and fed up with gun violence in their neighborhoods and the lack of a comprehensive approach to mental health diagnosis and treatment. These conversations must continue throughout the state and I look forward to being a part of future events.
Today’s conversation is occurring at an important time, just a day after the President issued his historic recommendations. The President’s proposals represent an action agenda—common sense steps from law enforcement and public health professionals that the American people support. It is a blue print to seize this moment, sustain the momentum, and keep faith with the victims of horrific recent tragedies.
I support the President’s call for universal criminal background checks, bans on deadly assault weapons and high capacity magazines, national criminal database improvements, increases in mental health funding, federal gun violence research and anti-trafficking proposals.
In the upcoming session, I will continue to fight for mandatory background checks on ammunition purchases, which are the black hole of gun violence prevention today. I will also join my Senate colleagues Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Robert Casey, Elizabeth Warren, and my esteemed colleague from Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy in co-sponsoring legislation to stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.
I will also continue to urge that the gun industry be required to move gradually towards safer products, a practice that is already required of and accepted by other industries. Unfortunately, gun manufacturers have been largely immune from such regulation. As a result, when it comes to developments in gun safety, time has largely stood still. This includes production of guns that can recognize their owners’ grip, guns that could never be accidentally fired by a child or used by a thief.
We must also do more to keep track of the guns flowing through our communities. Surely with all of the technology and expertise in the hands of the Justice Department we can find a way to keep track of gun purchases in a way that protects the privacy of law-abiding gun owners while giving law enforcement valuable information to stop the next Adam Lanza before he is allowed to kill.
I look forward to working shoulder to shoulder with a broad coalition – comprising Newtown residents, law enforcement professionals, and countless people in Connecticut and across the country who have said to me again and again with deep grief and outrage: We have to do something. This conversation today is an important part of continuing that momentum.