Proposed legislation aims to reduce gun violence in Connecticut – NBC Connecticut
Even in this short legislative period, the legislature is trying to get things moving on the subject of gun violence.
NBC Connecticut’s Mike Hydeck spoke with Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) about the chances that something can be done.
Mike Hydeck: “So right now, state legislatures are lobbying to set up a Gun Violence Prevention Bureau. The group Connecticut Against Gun Violence calls for this. What do you think is the likelihood of this happening?”
Bob Duff: “Well, I think the odds are very good, you know, Connecticut was a leader in gun violence prevention. In fact, Connecticut is the fourth safest state in the nation, and much of that can be attributed to many of the criminal justice reforms we’ve implemented over the past 10 years, the fact that we’ve worked with a number of different groups, we promote community policing, and that we We have taken steps that many other states have not, where we have reduced crime and other states have increased crime. But you know, every one of us, whenever we see gun violence, whether it’s in urban areas, suburban areas, or rural areas, we need to make sure we take action. And so, whatever we can do, it really has to be done from the bottom up, not from the top down. And I think some of these community prevention ideas and coordination ideas are also a good idea. And we should embrace all of these things to reduce gun violence in our state.”
Mike Hydeck: “Speaking of reaching out to the community, the Senate Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Committee had a series of face-to-face and local meetings to seek solutions. Was there anything actionable about it? You know, they spoke to nonprofit organizations and police and community activists – what did you learn from them?”
Bob Duff: “Well, there is a very comprehensive report. And I think there’s a bunch of ideas that have been out there. In fact, Senator Marilyn Moore of Bridgeport has been extremely helpful and committed to this cause, we have a number of other senators on our caucus representing urban areas who have also worked on many ideas. I think part of what we do in our session is listen to these ideas, read reports and come up with the best solutions, and then to be honest you have to have money behind them too. So I think what we do look at ourselves and how best to ensure that in everything we do, we’re not just putting money into an issue, but also making money work in the communities. And not just to say that we are doing something, but actually making a difference and having really desired effects.”
Mike Hydeck: “Any rough estimates of what kind of money could be put into some legislation to try and move it forward?”
Bob Duff: “I think we’ll check during the session what that will be. It’s part of the discussions and I don’t want to speculate now on how much that might be.”
Mike Hydeck: “So, as we know, gun violence comes from a variety of things. What role can things like job training, affordable housing, play in ending gun violence? And would that be part of a plan do you think to move forward? Because tackling the root causes will help stop this, not necessarily throwing money into programs.”
Bob Duff: “Right, absolutely. And I think many things always help reduce crime and violence in our communities. Certainly, making sure we have a stable economy and getting our economy back on track post COVID. Reopening Like We Have Remember, crime has been declining for over 10 years and that is why Connecticut is the 4th safest state in the nation. The pandemic has not only increased in Connecticut but in our country and around the world with some violent crimes such as Murder, but also in juvenile delinquency. So I think it’s important that we embrace these things, that we get people back to work. We are continuing some of the programs in the justice sector that had been suspended because of the pandemic, and because the children often had nothing to do or there were other programs in the communities, we then saw problems. It’s not much of our youth, there are very few who actually commit crimes ov er and over and over again. So it’s a matter of stepping in and making sure we have ways in which we can step in and kick their ass so we don’t have recurring crimes.
Mike Hydeck: “Yes, and not only would Republicans disagree with that statement, but police chiefs like the Waterbury Police Chief would say, ‘Look, I have teenagers who have stolen cars six times. We don’t want them involved in gun violence Good.’ Is there a way to take a step forward? Are you totally opposed to changing the way the law treats repeat offenders who are teenagers? I mean, this is a push from the Republican side. How do you see that?
Bob Duff: “Well, what we have seen is that the tools are already there, it is a matter of cooperation between the police departments and the judiciary. There are many ways that we can get some of these repeat offenders and lock them up, make sure they go to prison for the crimes they commit. Some of it was actually as simple as a memorandum of understanding between departments. When we sat down, and I know there were forums all over the place asking, literally police, you know, ‘what else can we do?’ They say we need to work more with the judiciary and share information, and honestly, some work has been done at the regional level here in Fairfield County and that has actually resulted in some desired benefits and a reduction in some of the car thefts and some of the car break-ins that we’ve had . So I would say the solutions are there, it’s a matter of willingness to do it. Let’s not have rhetoric that doesn’t solve anything, let’s make sure we have a real plan. I remember when we had this anti-crime mentality in the 90’s we didn’t have population growth, we threw a lot of people in jail and we still had the same statistics so it’s more about intervention, it’s more about community service, and it’s also about making sure that we lock up the violent offenders and that when we have repeat offenders they are held accountable and that we’re doing the right intervention so that we reduce some of the incidents we’ve seen across the state. “