The Rt. Rev. James Curry, bishop of Connecticut testifies before the CT legislature. He says in part:
I am here today to urge you to support legislation to ban assault weapons, limit the capacity of gun magazines, and institute universal background checks for any purchase of firearms. In the face of the slaughter in Sandy Hook we need to find a commonsense response that puts the lives of our children ahead of an un-restricted right to gun ownership. Charles Ramsey, Police Commissioner of Philadelphia, is absolutely right when he says: If the slaughter of 20 babies doesn’t wake you up, then I give up, because I don’t know what will. We need reasonable gun control in this country, or guess what, it will happen again.”
The Episcopal Church supports the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, but we also stand, by resolutions of our General Convention and Executive Council, for public policies to ban assault weapons.
The massacre in Sandy Hook is a wake up call for us as a society to challenge the violence of our culture and discern comprehensive responses to cycles of violence. We, the Episcopal Church, commit to building educational, formational, and spiritual resources toward this end.
In the past we, as a society, have been very slow to recognize and change the cycles of violence that infect our communities. Groups like Mothers Against Violence here in Hartford have been raising their cries for action and justice for years and we have not listened well. Now is the time to listen and to act. You have the opportunity now in the wake of the shootings in Sandy Hook to make significant legislation that can protect all our children and make our communities safer.
During the testimony of parents of the dead children, hecklers could be heard shouting “second amendment” when any asked why these weapons are allowed.
“The Second Amendment!” was shouted a couple of times by as many as a dozen gun enthusiasts in the meeting room as Neil Heslin, holding a photo of his slain 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, asked why Bushmaster assault-style weapons are allowed to be sold in the state.
“There are a lot of things that should be changed to prevent what happened,” said Heslin, who said he grew up using guns and was undisturbed by the interruption of his testimony.