Malloy, Sandy Hook families attend president's State of Union - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Malloy, Sandy Hook families attend president's State of Union

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Gov Malloy said people "shouldn't vote for anyone who doesn't support background checks." (WFSB) Gov Malloy said people "shouldn't vote for anyone who doesn't support background checks." (WFSB)

President Barack Obama delivered his last state of the union speech on Tuesday night and Connecticut had a significant presence.

Gov. Dannel Malloy was recognized by the president along with families of Sandy Hook tragedy and others who are trying to prevent gun violence.

"I think its a good honor for Connecticut," Malloy said.

Since the U.S. Congress has failed to pass universal background checks, the president said he is counting on states to take action.

Malloy has a pretty friendly relationship with the president. It seems Sandy Hook brought them even closer together.

"The president and I have become friendly, mainly on policy issues,” Malloy said. “He's argued the case of many things I have argued. He's led on some. I've lead on some of those." 

Connecticut was one of six states to pass tougher gun laws. The president said he would like to see more states do the same.

Malloy got national recognition. Connecticut was the first state to raise the minimum wage, pass affordable health care and some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

While states have acted on gun control, congress has failed to raise even one bill. But U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed at Sandy Hook, are not discouraged.

"We have made progress. Connecticut made progress. Washington State made progress. The president made progress,” Murphy said. “We've made more movement in the past three years than this movement has in the past 20."

Barden was attend the president's final address.

"Shortly after the shooting we lost our little Daniel, my older children James and Natalie were asking questions how could this happen,” Barden said. “That was the catalyst moment for me to get involved in this."

Members of Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation invited people who have been working to reduce gun deaths such as New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell.

“We understand we can't do it alone,” Wardwell said. “We have to work with our community and lawmakers.”

"I am proud of our state, so many people stepping up to address the challenging problems we are facing in the country,” U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said. 

While polls show most Americans favor universal background checks, opposition has been fierce.  Gun groups such as the National Rifle Association want harsher penalties, not more gun control. 

Malloy said he feels ultimately elections will decide this issue.

"If you're not going to allow someone on a plane because they may be a danger why would you sell them a gun,” Malloy said. “That’s a question Americans should ask of their politicians and they should vote for anyone who doesn't support background checks."

Also in the chamber of the House on Tuesday night was former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot and now goes around the country, and speaks out against violence.     

The president spent very little of his speech on gun control. Although Obama said it will be a top priority in this final months as president.

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