The town's mayor is among a bipartisan coalition of more than 750 mayors nationwide who this week signed a letter to the president asking for a comprehensive gun violence prevention package just days after the Dec. 14 massacre of 27 people at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Berlin Mayor Adam Salina says he joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns a couple of weeks after his election in 2011.
"On the heels of the unfathomable tragedy in Newtown, it is time for our nation to act. I, along with over 750 Mayors across the country are urging action President Obama to put forward an agenda that will make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns.
"I am astonished by the NRA's press conference which took place on Friday. Rather than look for a solution to this problem, they feel the answer to gun violence is more guns.
"As the father of three young daughters and I cannot imagine the anguish felt by the families in Newtown but I will continue to fight for a solution."
The MAIG letter (read the full text in the pdf at right) says more than 750 mayors has joined forces with over 700,000 Americans and more than 100 survivors of deadly shootings to urge Obama and Congress to enact an agenda "rooted in common sense and that will make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns, and easier for police and prosecutors to crack down on them."
That agenda, according to MAIG, should:
- Require every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check
- Get high capacity rifles and ammunition magazines off our streets
- Make gun trafficking a federal crime
"Those ideas require action by Congress, but there steps you and your Administration could and should take immediately to curb gun violence," the letter reads.
- Appoint an ATF director
- Prosecute prohibited purchasers who attempt to buy firearms, ammunition or high-capacity magazines
- Require federal agencies to report records to NICS
- Repeal remaining Tiahrt restrictions (provisions attached to federal spending bills that make it harder for law enforcement officers to aggressively pursue criminals who buy and sell illegal guns).
"I'm astonished by the NRA's response," Salina said.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew is looking for federal legislation that would only permit enough bullets to fully load one handgun at a time. “Without ammunition, a gun is nothing more than a blunt object.”
And he’s hopeful for a ban on all semiautomatic weapons. “There really is no ostensible purpose for home defense. No hunter needs a semiautomatic weapon. If there wasn’t such an availability of ammunition in this country, it would be hard for people to commit these types of violent acts.”
Drew does make one point clear. “I don’t have a problem with people owning a weapon. There are a lot of responsible people out there, there are a lot of responsible hunters.”
And although he doesn’t own a gun, he has fired one. In fact, he says, many people in his family own weapons and are hunters — just not assault weapons.
“Semiautomatic weapons are designed to kill people,” Drew says.