HARTFORD, CT —Several cities, including Hartford, will be the scene of marches against gun violence this weekend.
The March for Our Lives event follows a 17-minute national school walkout by students across the country. The 17-minutes represented one minute for each of the victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—which happened on Feb. 14.
The last significant gun control rally at the state Capitol in Hartford was five years ago following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six educators.
This Saturday’s march, organized by groups like the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, is happening in Washington D.C. and locally at West Hartford Town Hall, Enfield Green, East Haddam Two Wrasslin’ Cats, Hartford State Capitol, Roxbury Green, Kent Town Hall, Stamford Mill River Park, Guilford Town Green, Shelton Veterans Memorial Park, Old Saybrook Green, and Stonington High School.
Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who represents Newtown, told supporters on a national call organized by the Brady Campaign To End Gun Violence that there’s legislation in the works to limit high capacity magazines, and strengthen background checks for gun purchases. But she said they also want to see an assault weapons ban and national legislation that would allow law enforcement to take away an individual’s gun if they were found to be a threat to themselves or anyone else.
The omnibus spending package Congress is expected to pass before the weekend includes language from the Fix NICS Act and clarifies the decades-old law that has prevented the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from researching the causes of gun violence. It also includes language from the STOP School Violence Act, legislation that would fund school security improvements and invest in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens.
There are no plans yet on a national basis to renew the assault weapons ban.
Connecticut already has legislation that bans high capacity magazines and assault weapons. It also has a law on the books that gives law enforcement the ability to seize guns from someone who is a threat to themselves or others.
Linda Biegel Schulman, the mother of Scott Biegel, the geography instructor who died while trying to bring children into his classroom during the Parkland shooting, stressed that the movement and its support have “found our words.” She assured listeners on a national call that the next generation of voters would see to the next step of the gun control movement.
Others from the campaign noted that it was concerned parents decades ago who launched the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, and now students are working to end the fight. The “passing of the mantle moment” seems embedded in the national discourse with students organizing school walkouts and marching.
Indeed, much of the work the work this week for the Brady Campaign centers around training students how to advocate for gun reform and be leaders in the cause. One leader called the week a time to teach the next generation to protest properly.
The Brady Campaign is partnering with the Urban League to bring students to Capitol Hill Friday engage in a four hour training session on how to be advocates for gun control, and later that night, the longtime gun control group is holding a sign making event with Rock the Vote to help further instruct students on how to peacefully protest.
Back in Hartford, the Judiciary Committee will hear public testimony on two bills Friday that would ban rapid fire enhancement devices, such as bump stocks, and another that would ban “ghost guns.”
Both bills are opposed by the National Rifle Association.