CT Lawmakers vow to back students after walkouts - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT Lawmakers vow to back students after walkouts

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Gov. Dannel Malloy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal speak out against President Trump's proposal to arm teachers. (WFSB) Gov. Dannel Malloy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal speak out against President Trump's proposal to arm teachers. (WFSB)
Students at Simsbury High School joined thousands cross the country in a walkout on Wednesday to protest gun violence. (WFSB) Students at Simsbury High School joined thousands cross the country in a walkout on Wednesday to protest gun violence. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A day after Connecticut students joined those around the country in walkouts to protest gun violence, some of the state's officials are making their own voices heard.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Gov. Dannel Malloy have been critical of President Donald Trump's gun proposals.

Malloy pushed back against Trump's suggestion of arming teachers.

"Unfortunately since his initial promise to support gun reform - the president has backtracked and is now supporting NRA backed proposal --- in other words, they pulled the leash," Malloy said.

Thursday, he said stood with education leaders and spoke about school safety and strategies he thinks will work.

“[Wednesday], students in Connecticut and around the country raised their voice and spoke out in support of common sense gun safety legislation,” Malloy said.  “It’s time for Republicans in Washington DC to listen to their constituents, to our students, and to our educators, not the gun lobbyists. The reality is that schools are not airports, or banks, or stadiums. They are places of learning and where our children grow and develop. That’s why President Trump’s plan to arm teachers is absolutely ludicrous and dangerous. Teaching is already a tremendously difficult job without having the additional burden of simultaneously serving as an armed security officer, likely without adequate training."

He said access to weapons needs to be limited and there needs to be more laws to protect people from gun violence.

Education leaders and students also joined the discussion.

"Guns have no place in the desk or cabinets or other concealed locations in our schools or on our teachers or administrators," said Karissa Nishoff, of the CT Association of Schools.

Blumenthal said was also there.

“The Trump plan is all talk and no action all reality show rhetoric, and anemic non-action,” Blumenthal said.  “Arming teachers is an abhorrent response opposed by law enforcement, teachers, and students alike. Although I’m proud to be a leading co-sponsor of Fix NICS and the STOP School Violence Act, these bills only scratch the surface of what is necessary. President Trump seems to have received a permission slip from the NRA to express support for these bills, but no others. The president couldn’t even summon the political courage to propose raising the age limit on firearm purchases despite his repeated promises. If President Trump wants to prove his priority is the American people and not the NRA, he should state his unequivocal support for universal background checks, federal extreme risk protection orders, and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. A groundswell of grassroots energy, led by students, must move Congress to take meaningful action in the absence of presidential leadership.”

He also said he'll continue to fight for action in Washington.

The senator thanked students for their leadership during the walkouts on Wednesday, when they joined thousands of others nationwide.

Blumenthal was also at the Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

State education commissioner Dianna Wentzell touted the changes already made to Connecticut's schools.

“Under Gov. Malloy’s leadership, all of the school security measures we have taken as a state, from investments in more secure infrastructure to utilizing school-based health and wellness centers, are crucial to fostering welcoming environments in which students are happy, healthy and ready to learn," Wentzell.

Malloy also reiterated his call for action to ban bump stocks and fund another round of school security grants. He said the state has invested more than $53 million in improving school safety since 2013.

The CT Citizens Defense League sees it differently, saying "Teachers and administration are likely to be the first line of defense. We should provide them with as many tools as possible to protect our children. That includes firearms and the training to use them if they wish."

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