By a vote of 31 to 2 the Senate passed a bill Thursday that prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from firing a machine gun.
The bill was written in response to the death of an 8-year-old Ashford boy who was using an Uzi at a Massachusetts gun club when it recoiled and he shot himself in the head.
Most Senators on both sides of the aisle said it was a common sense measure.
One senator who voted against it thought the bill would be useless in stopping future tragedies, while another who is a friend of the 8-year-old boy’s family doesn’t think the law is necessary.
“I didn’t think we needed a law to address it,” Sen. Anthony Guglielmo, R-Stafford Springs, said. “You can’t take all the risk out of life.”
Guglielmo, whose mother works with the boy’s father in the emergency room at Johnson Memorial Hospital, said the boy’s father, Dr. Charles Bizilj, wanted his children to have life experiences and adventures. He said Dr. Bizilj’s sons enjoyed the outdoors and being sportsmen. He said this was just a tragic incident and “a very rare” occurrence.
“Life is a risk,” Guglielmo said.
Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, was the other senator who voted against the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said “all constitutional rights are subject to reasonable regulation.” He said that children under the age of 16 simply should not be handling machine guns.
“It is of vital importance that we keep children safe from assault weapons and machine guns,” Looney said. “Children should not be in possession of assault weapons and machine guns which they may not be strong enough to control.”
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.