(Updated 3:12 p.m.)Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission took a hard line on gun regulations Friday when it recommended prohibiting both the sale and ownership of any gun that can fire more than 10 rounds in a row.
The commission was convened by the governor as a response to the Dec. 14 murders in Newtown when a gunman entered an elementary school and killed 20 first graders and six adults.
The draft recommendations the group approved Friday go further than the proposals being discussed so far in the gun control debate. Over the objections of some on panel, the commission opted not to differentiate between assault weapons, rifles, or handguns. Instead they focused on what they called the “lethality” of weapons.
Bernard Sullivan, a former state Public Safety Commissioner and Hartford Police chief, said he thought the “gun culture” of American society needed to be changed.
“Personally, I think we should take a hard stand on firearms in this country,” he said.
Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, the commission’s chairman, and University of Connecticut Police Chief Barbara O’Connor called the recommendation too broad and over-reaching.
O’Connor said she personally owned a Glock .40 that is capable of carrying more than 10 rounds. She asked if her weapon would become illegal.
“I think this is just too far reaching . . . What am I to do with my Glock if this were to become law? I can’t leave my home with it, is what you’re saying?” she asked.
Sullivan said she would not be able to keep it in her home. He said there would likely be a grace period during which she could sell it outside the state. He said the commission heard from expert witnesses who testified that it was dangerous to keep guns in homes.
“We know that even less capacity guns are dangerous, that having a gun in the home is worse than not having a gun, by all the research they’ve done. My feeling is this: if you don’t need that, then what’s the problem with it becoming illegal?” he said.
Jackson said he personally felt the recommendation was too broad.
“What this statement says is, despite the fact that you have managed your firearm in a safe and reasonable fashion, it is no longer legal,” he said. “. . . For me, it’s a little bit too far.”
Former Newtown Rep. Chris Lyddy remained quiet for much of the gun debate. He said he understood the opposition from gun owners to stricter firearm regulations. He said he felt bad for law-abiding gun owners, but said he was “on the side of ‘Let’s take a stand. Let’s give a damn.’”
“I’m going to err on the side of the safety of those children . . . I know it’s broad, but my heart would say ‘Let’s get rid of everything, let’s just get rid of them all.’ But that’s not logical,” he said.
Jackson asked the group for a vote on recommending banning the possession of weapons that can fire more than 10 rounds. More than half the panelists raised their hands.
“That appears to be consensus,” he said.
At an unrelated event Friday Malloy declined comment on a proposal to ban all guns with more than 10 bullets.
“I’m not ducking you. I haven’t seen the thing,” Malloy said.
He said it’s hard for him to comment on something he hasn’t seen. But as far as the issue of confiscation goes he said his proposal does not call for guns to be confiscated.
“Our package would recognize the right of those guns that have currently been sold,” Malloy said.
“I made a series of recommendations, I’ll look at their recommendations,” he added.
In a statement issued later in the day, Malloy said he appreciated the work of the commission, but said he was not looking to confiscate weapons.
“I want to be very clear on one point — I do not support, and will not advocate for, the confiscation of firearms owned by law abiding citizen,” he said.
Christine Stuart contributed to this report.