Gun legislation hearing held in Springfield - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Gun legislation hearing held in Springfield


The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security hosted a gun legislation meeting in Springfield on Friday.

The meeting was the third to be held around the state to discuss more than 60 pieces of gun legislation being proposed here in Massachusetts.

"As a gun owner I'm deeply concerned about what proposals are being put forth because the current laws we have on the books, they're extremely restrictive," said Smith and Wesson employee Steve Danneker.

"The reason I am here is hoping that can change some of the laws, make what are already some of the best laws in the country a little bit tougher," said Dain Perry.

Hundreds packed into the Griswold Theater at American international college for the public hearing.

"It's in the headlines every day, this gun violence, and we can't tolerate it anymore so targeting those offenders I think is the most important thing and I think every police officer across the country feels that way," said Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet.

The proposed legislation touches on a wide variety of issues ranging from gun licensing to mental health concerns, an area that the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has thrust into the spotlight.

"We have to get to the underlying reasons of where these guns are coming from, why is there the attraction, why gun violence is increasing," said Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni.

Among those in attendance was a large contingent of Smith and Wesson employees. In fact as the company's CEO James Debney took to the microphone he received a standing ovation.

The company employees around 1,200 people in Western Mass and has a pay roll registering of approximately $50 million each year. Employees say they attended today's meeting to make sure their jobs are protected.

"It's not us that are putting the guns in people's hands. It's pretty much us that have a job that are trying to do something that will benefit society," said Smith and Wesson Employee Deshaun Woods.

Debney told the panel he believes four key areas need to be looked at: mental health, school safety, license to carry firearms and the current background check system.

Others to testify Friday included Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and State Sen. Gail Candaras.

Two other public hearings are scheduled across the state.

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