I want to commend the Town Council for this week considering the resolution that will forever honor the heroism of Stratford resident and slain Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Victoria Soto with a school named in her memory. There is no question that the tragedy that befell Newtown one month ago today has had repercussions across the country. And for good reason – it is time to do more to eradicate gun violence and to make sure that tragedies like Newtown never happen again.
Locally, in Stratford this week a resolution doing just that was put forward by Councilmember Stephanie Philips. She seeks to honor the memory and actions of Victoria Soto with smart legislation that aims to get the dialogue moving and encourages our state and federal elected leaders to come up with rational and reasonable solutions to protect the 2nd Amendment that allows the right to bear arms but also secures our children’s future to grow up in a society that is safe and protected from gun violence.
However, for some unknown reason, this Council’s chairman, Joe Kubic, has refused to place Councilmember Philips’ resolution on the agenda. And that concerns and worries me.
As a former detective in New York City, I arrested a lot of people. Some of them had guns on them. Including a 15 year-old-girl whom I removed a loaded handgun from in downtown Brooklyn. None of those weapons were ever licensed or the defendants permitted to carry them.
Today, you only have to look to our neighboring City of Bridgeport and read of the endless gun battles and gang violence that has left many innocents dead. Is there any doubt among you to think we are so insulated in Stratford that such gun violence cannot happen here? Did anyone ever think it would happen in Newtown?
The resolution Council member Philips has authored is important because it urges Congress to take legislative action to immediately ban all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, institute comprehensive gun control including making the national background check for firearm purchasers more effective to deter individuals intent on violence from acquiring firearms, and significantly increase the criminal penalties for illegal purchases or illegal transfers of firearms.
I really hope this Council shows true leadership and sends a strong message to those who would do others harm that we will not tolerate such crimes. Their action, or inaction, will speak volumes to those who expect our locally elected leaders to do the right thing and honor the memory of the 20 children and six educators killed last month. I can think of no better way to do that for the lasting memory of Ms. Soto, her family, her students, her colleagues in education, her friends, and our town, than by having the courage to do what is right by saying no more to gun violence and immediately put forward Ms. Philips’ resolution.
Adam H. Brill