More than a hundred Newtown residents testified at a public hearing Wednesday to voice their opinions on school safety, mental health and gun violence. The hearing was organized by the Connecticut legislature’s Task Force on Gun Violence.
“In an instant, with the loss of those twenty-six dear precious lives, the world united,” said Scarlett Lewis, mother of six-year-old victim Jesse Lewis. “The entire world was in shock, and the reaction to this was love and compassion…Everyone’s been asking me, ‘What can I do?’ At Jesse’s funeral, I got up and addressed this question. I asked everyone to consciously change an angry thought into a loving thought every day.”
Some of the speakers challenged the arguments made by pro-gun advocates for keeping assault weapons on the market. "Personal defense, whether from a tyrannical government or a home invasion, are two main arguments of the gun lobby. I don’t understand them,” said Bill Sherlock, whose wife, Mary Sherlock, was the school psychologist at Sandy Hook Elementary. “In today’s world of drones, missiles, and other high-tech weaponry, if a government wants to take out your house or your car, you’ll never see it coming.”
Douglas Fuchs, Redding police chief and resident of Newtown, spoke of his children's experience inside Sandy Hook Elementary as the shooting occurred. He then proposed six measures for safer gun regulation to the legislature. His second proposal was to restrict assault weapons to law enforcement only.
“While I am not an avid marksman, I am told [assault rifles] are fun to shoot, and I guess I get that, ”said Fuchs. “But many would like to take their Ferrari out at 3AM and drive 140mph on I-84, but we don’t let them. One might be a very accomplished driver and the traffic virtually non-existent and the vehicle a finely tuned machined, but for some reason the Connecticut legislature—that’s you all—frowns upon that kind of activity.”
Check out the video above to see the testimony from four Newtown residents who were personally affected by the tragedy.