Waterbury, Connecticut Chief of Police Fernando Spagnolo testifies Blumenthal: “Thoughts and prayers cannot save the eight victims in Atlanta or the ten last night, including a brave police officer.”
[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, delivered an opening statement today during the full Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing, “Constitutional and Common Sense Steps to Reduce Gun Violence,” calling on Congress to “honor these victims with action – real action – not the fig leafs or the shadows that have been offered on the other side, along with hopes and thoughts and prayers.” Today’s previously scheduled hearing took place hours after a gunman killed ten people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado and just one week after a shooter targeting women of Asian descent killed eight people near Atlanta, Georgia.
One of the witnesses at today’s hearing is Waterbury, Connecticut Chief of Police Fernando Spagnolo. Chief Spagnolo joined Blumenthal yesterday in Waterbury to discuss gun violence prevention proposals that are saving lives and making communities safer in Connecticut.
Following today’s testimony, Blumenthal will be holding a series of hearings in his subcommittee on specific gun violence prevention measures.
Excerpts of Blumenthal’s remarks are copied below.
America awoke today to another nightmare – stunning, shocking, savage, but unsurprising. Inaction has made this horror completely predictable.
Now is the time for action to honor these victims with action – real action – not the fig leafs or the shadows that have been offered on the other side, along with hopes and thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers cannot save the eight victims in Atlanta or the ten last night, including a brave police officer.
There may be some question about what the motives were for the killer in Boulder, but there’s no mystery about what needs to be done. Connecticut has shown by some of the strongest gun laws in the country that they work, but Connecticut with those strong gun laws it at the mercy of states with the weakest laws because guns do not respect state boundaries.
In the midst of the most serious disease outbreak in our lifetime, gun violence is an epidemic in its own right. Guns in the wrong hands make the most serious problems potentially fatal and irreversible. The hate motivated shootings that tore through Atlanta last week, are just the latest example, they won't be the last.
Without access to the weapon, the Atlanta shooter is just a racist and misogynist. But armed with a firearm, purchased that very day, he is a monster. A mass murderer. A disturbed man going into a grocery store yesterday, armed with a weapon of war, can kill with the brutal efficiency and speed meant for combat. A domestic abuser exploiting an intimate relationship in violent and horrific ways when a gun is involved, death becomes five times more likely. And a person with suicidal thoughts who doesn't have access to a firearm can seek help. But with a gun, that life can be over in an instant.
We need to end this epidemic with a comprehensive nationwide approach. Expanded background checks. Extreme risk laws to prevent suicides, mass shootings and hate crimes. Protecting domestic violence victims and safe storage standards.
These kind of measures are within our reach. When I ask a mom, after Sandy Hook, literally at a ceremony for her child, whether she would talk to me when she was ready about action we could take together, she said, through her tears, I'm ready now.
America is ready now. Congress must act. Congress must be ready now.