At an NCC public forum on Gun Violence held on April 19, Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy (D) and Richard Blumenthal (D) talked with students, faculty, and advocates about their ongoing efforts to prevent gun violence.
They were joined on the panel discussion by Josh Koskoff, the lead attorney representing the families of Sandy Hook victims in a case against the Remington company. Remington manufactures the M-16 rife, a military assault weapon that was used by Adam Lanza in 2014 to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Murphy and Blumenthal have been longtime supporters of anti-gun legislation and advocate passage of federal laws to ensure background checks before purchasing firearms and to prohibit gun trafficking between states.
They also are working to overturn the federal 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a law which protects gun manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products.
“Chris Murphy and I were at Sandy Hook the day it happened. I will never, ever, for the rest of my life forget the sounds and sights of that day,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “It will be with me forever.”
Senator Murphy said no community is immune from the problem of gun violence and that the “modern anti-gun violence movement” has gained traction since Sandy Hook and other mass shootings at churches, nightclubs and movie theaters.
“My life changed at Sandy Hook,” Murphy said. “What drives me to get up every day is to do everything in my power to fight the scourge of gun violence, in our schools and in our cities.”
Koskoff noted that the M-16 rifle used by Adam Lanza was first developed by the U.S. Army after World War II to be “the perfect military assault weapon.”
To appeal to a broader audience, gun manufacturers have since renamed it the Modern Sporting Rifle and have marketed it to teenagers through video games and movies.
“They’ve marketed the world’s most dangerous weapon to a younger demographic,” he said.
The event attracted members of the greater community, including two Staples High School students, which Senator Murphy posted about on Facebook: https://06880danwoog.com/2017/04/19/please-excuse-eli-and-lulu.
The forum was sponsored by NCC’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.