When the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission releases its final report in about six weeks, it’s unlikely to include an analysis of Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old man who murdered 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown.
“Our report is not going to be a deconstruction of Adam Lanza,” Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, the panel’s chairman, said Friday.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy created the advisory panel soon after the 2012 shooting and charged the group with thoroughly reviewing the incident and making recommendations. The commission — made up of experts in education, mental health, law enforcement, and emergency response — issued an interim report before the legislature passed a bill including stricter gun laws last year. But the panel has taken its time in drafting final recommendations.
Jackson and other members have sought access to more information on Lanza before issuing a report. The group had sought the cooperation of the deceased gunman’s father, Peter Lanza, in an effort to obtain Adam Lanza’s mental health records. And in June, Jackson said his panel was waiting on a report from the Office of the Child Advocate, which he hoped provide the group with an accurate picture of the shooter.
On Friday, Jackson said the panel never received the information it was seeking regarding Lanza and would release its final report without that information. Instead, the report will focus on recommendations to make schools and communities safer places, he said.
“Given the adaptability of people intent on doing bad actions, you don’t want to fight yesterday’s war,” he said. “We have to set in place processes and procedure that allow for the development of safer schools and infrastructure.”
During a Friday meeting of the group in Hartford, some members said they would prefer not to finalize the report until more details about the shooter were released in the Child Advocate’s report.
Dr. Harold Schwartz, head psychiatrist at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, told the panel he would like the group to stick with its earlier goal of including more information about Lanza and the shooting. He said the Child Advocate’s office has met with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and has had access to information that belongs in the group’s report.
“That would require, perhaps, a delay of another additional couple of months or a few months. I’m as eager as anyone else to get a report out, I understand the impetus to do so. At this stage of the game, I don’t know that a delay of this kind of additional time would have a significant impact on the public’s safety. I doubt it would,” he said during the meeting.
Jackson said he and Schwartz had a “difference of opinion” on the issue. But he said the panel could try to get a timeline from the Child Advocate’s office and he was open to revising the commission’s report to include new information when it is released.
Jackson told reporters it was time to start setting expectations for the report. He said the document would “not be an intellectual exercise.”
“We have a tragic circumstance that galvanized us for one of those brief moments in history, where class didn’t matter and race didn’t matter and which side of an invisible line you lived on didn’t matter. We were all hurting. We all had a moral response to that tragedy. Some reports can tend toward the intellectual, whereas I think we need to stake the moral ground on this,” he said. “We are recommending these things because they are right.”
Jackson said the report is likely to include recommendations on gun control policy. It’s an issue the panel addressed in its interim report before the state legislature passed its own firearm regulations. The bill expanded the number of firearms prohibited in Connecticut to include weapons similar to the gun used in the shooting and banned the sale of ammunition magazines that carry more than 10 rounds.
“There will certainly be a validation or a verification or a change to [the gun control recommendations] we issued in our interim report,” Jackson said.