The budget instability continues to loom over the Capitol, and the latest revenue reports show that our deficit continues to grow as revenues decline. The current debate, however, has focused around gun control legislation.The leaders of the House and Senate have come together to form a bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety to study the issue. I am hopeful that this task force will be thorough in its review and propose meaningful legislation that will improve public safety and school security. Our discussion cannot be limited to merely gun control, but must include a dialogue on school safety, state resources for school safety and mental health support.
In this long session, legislators can propose their own bills. I have refrained from proposing anything on this issue because I believe it is imperative that we first take a comprehensive look through this commission process. I believe it is detrimental to the process to make hasty or one-sided proposals that may upset the public and create media headlines. We need to come together as a state to collectively solve this problem.
One proposal, which seeks to ban all guns that are not single-shot, has only served to galvanize opposition and bring the debate to a justifiable concern that government is attempting to trample on the 2nd Amendment and infringe on individuals' personal property rights. This proposal should not be the starting point in a dialogue for responsible gun control measures, and it's unfortunate that anyone would propose it in the first place. Connecticut has one of the most restrictive and comprehensive gun control laws in the country already. Further restrictions might sound like an easy solution, but if we are no safer as a society, we've accomplished nothing.
Yet another proposal would be to publish the names and addresses of individuals with legal gun permits. Again, I think this proposal is misplaced frustration that does nothing to forward the shared goal of making our state safer. To the contrary, this type of information in the hands of criminals will serve like a menu list of which homes they may choose to rob.
The lawmakers who comprise the task force consist of Democrats, Republicans, city and small town legislators, and legislators who are mental health advocates and sportsmen. I believe they will inevitably look at all of the issues and not only limit themselves to gun control debate. For instance, 44 states in the union have outpatient commitment services for mental health. Connecticut does not. We must begin to tackle the difficult challenges for proper treatment and support of mental health patients.
While our schools regularly practice fire drills, lock down drills and all have emergency plans; no one could have fathomed the atrocities that occurred in Newtown. Our debate must turn toward making our schools more secure. Simple measures, like ensuring the performance of lock down drills, may help and will be explored by the task force.
The tragedy in Sandy Hook truly escapes reason and explanation. We are all looking to make sense of what happened- to discover a motive that will provide us, more importantly the victims' families, some bit of closure. I fear it will never come. Additionally, we are looking to find solutions that will provide us some comfort that there will never be another Sandy Hook. Sadly, I fear this too is futile. That does not mean we cannot do better. We can, and will, improve.
The legacy of Sandy Hook needs to be a meaningful one; it cannot be a hodge-podge of policies that we haphazardly pass in knee-jerk fashion that serves only to assuage our societal guilt. Our response should be thoughtful, measured and, most importantly, meaningful. After listening to legislative leaders that have formed the task force, both Democrat and Republican, I feel confident that is the response we will get.