The final report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting may warrant a state policy response, but it is unlikely to involve legislation on gun regulations, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday.
“I don’t think that , at this point, is going to be a gun session — a gun safety session,” he said Tuesday.
The comments were part of the governor’s first public remarks on the report released Monday regarding the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The report was the product of almost a year-long investigation into the incident, in which a gunman murdered 20 children and six adults at a Newtown elementary school.
Lawmakers spent time during the 2013 legislative session negotiating a bipartisan but controversial response to the shooting. The bill, which Malloy signed into law in April, made sweeping changes to the state’s firearm regulations.
The law expanded the number of firearms prohibited in Connecticut, banned the sale of ammunition magazines that carry more than 10 rounds, and imposed new eligibility requirements for the purchase of all guns and ammunition. It also created the first statewide gun offender registry.
Although the legislation was supported by gun-control activists and some of the families who lost relatives during the Sandy Hook murders, it was bitterly opposed by the firearms industry and Second Amendment advocates.
Malloy said Monday’s final report on the shooting does raise “the possibility of additional work” on issues like mental health services and school safety. But he said there likely won’t be additional legislation on gun control issues beyond technical fixes to the language of the law he signed in April.
“I think that we wrestled with this issue very extensively [in the] last year,” he said.
Malloy said the report should help the advisory commission — which he created to make recommendations in response to the murders — complete its work. He said the state already has invested about $24 million to fund school safety projects at schools around the state.
“But more work may be required. Whether it’s financing and funding or thinking about how we build schools differently and therefore setting different standards,” he said. “On the mental health front, I think we’ll continue to evolve and look for best practices and best ideas.”
Although he had been critical of the time it took state’s attorneys to compile the report, the governor said the document accomplished its goal by answering certain questions. He said it concluded that the shooter acted alone and that the emergency response to the incident was “timely and effective.”
Other questions, like why the shooter assaulted the school, will likely never be answered, he said.
Malloy said the report should also raise questions for gun owners and people thinking about owning guns. The document confirmed that the weapons used in the shooting were purchased legally by the shooter’s mother, who was murdered by her son with a firearm at the start of his rampage.
“These were foolishly purchased guns by his mother. The poor woman was murdered herself using those guns. I think if anybody pauses at any time in the state of Connecticut, it should be around the issue of A: do you really want to have guns in your house? B: particularly if you have someone who’s suffering from mental illness,” he said.
The April legislation also created a task force to look at behavioral health services for young adults. That task force is expected to make its recommendations to the legislature in January.
In the meantime, the bill passed in April requires mental health and substance abuse services to be considered “urgent care” by health insurance carriers, and it shortened the review time for service requests from 72 hours to 24 hours.
The legislation also required:
—insurance companies to inform consumers that they have the right to appeal a denial of care;
—the Insurance Department to evaluate and report on compliance with mental health parity laws, and;
—the health professional reviewing an insurance claim to have similar qualifications to the medical professional prescribing it.
The bill also expanded some capacity in the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, added case management for individuals involved in the Probate Court system, and established a program that provides support to pediatricians to help them intervene on behalf of families with children who have mental health conditions.