Council faces calls to act on gun control

For the second time in as many months, the Town Council faced calls for a local stand on gun control during its monthly meeting Monday.

Councilman Stephanie Philips (D-2nd District) proposed before the Jan. 14 meeting that the agenda include a resolution expressing support for a federal ban on assault weapons.

Council Chairman Joseph Kubic (R-9th District) declined, saying that the council was addressing the Newtown school massacre in other ways, including renaming a Stratford school in honor of Stratford High School graduate Victoria Soto. Kubic suggested the state legislature and Congress might be the more appropriate venues for weapons legislation.

While the Town Council Monday unanimously approved a resolution expressing sympathy for the loss of life in Newtown and honoring the brave acts and sacrifice of those who stood up to the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it again heard, and resisted, calls for action directly aimed at guns.

Monday night Philips, saying she believes in the Second Amendment, added that she would like to “find resolutions we can all work with” to reduce the number of weapons.

During the public forum portion of Monday’s meeting, which was postponed from Feb. 11 due to the blizzard, Republican former Council Chairman Thomas Malloy commended the council for not getting involved with the U.S. constitutional issue of gun ownership.

Others disagreed, pointedly criticizing the council for not getting involved in the issue.

“The fact that there is not a conversation in this body about gun violence is despicable,” said Neil Sherman, who told the Star that he is a spokesman for the Democratic Town Committee. “We need to discuss gun control and gun violence in this community.

“This community is the only community that is not discussing this issue” of gun control and gun violence, said Sherman. “The resolution [expressing sympathy to those affected by the Newtown tragedy] is nice, but all it does is wear diapers.”

A woman who joined the line of speakers after signups repeated Sherman’s word, calling it “despicable” that the council is not addressing gun violence.

Resident Walter Rimkunas said the council was acting like a certain member of the horse family, and not a donkey or mule, for not taking action on gun control. He said there needs to be control of “the idiots with automatic heavy-fire weapons.”

“We should be one of the leaders,” Rimkunas said. “A victim is from our town. You people have failed me and the town.”

Councilman James Connor (R-8th District) and Kubic, during the council response to the public, expressed disappointment in the tone and selection of what Kubic called “judgmental” words used.

Councilmen Christian Barnaby (R-1st District), Matthew Catalano (R-3rd District) and Paul Hoydick (R-10th District) said school safety is being looked at in the wake of the violence in Newtown.

Catalano added that he feels it is not the job of the Town Council to legislate about guns, a position with which Councilman Ken Poisson (R-6th District) agreed.

“Only armed police officers could have prevented the tragedy” at Sandy Hook Elementary School, resident Carol Monte said during the public forum. She urged the town to work with the Board of Education to have police in all Stratford schools.

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  • MarineVetRetCop

    Shame on those who are pressuring the Council to take actions and adopt resolutions just so they can have tingly feelings go up their backsides. It’s very apparent that their intentions are to lay claim to being a participant in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy and not much else.
    Stratford does not have a gun problem that requires immediate action. While it easily could have been one of our schools that was attacked by a mentally diminished individual with the sole intent of mass murder, it wasn’t. There is national, even international, ongoing discussion about the issue by people much wiser than those sitting on our council (no disrespect intended). This includes representatives who have served at command levels in the military or law enforcement community, highly educated mental health professionals and many more. What we don’t need is a knee jerk reaction to calls for a resolution by individuals who have not themselves been in positions as those mentioned.
    My suggestion is that the Council maintains its position for the time being. You are all professionals who have careers to be concerned about and your position on the Council is a part time, albeit honorable, one. Let those whose careers involve Constitutional Rights and their interpretations weigh in first. It would be an embarrassment to the town for the Council to take on an issue much greater than what they should, only to have to backtrack down the road when that decision is proven misdirected.
    That is all.

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