The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

State joins effort to fight gun violence

Five other states, Puerto Rico to form a regional gun violence research coalition

- By Emilie Munson

HARTFORD — Connecticu­t will join five other states and Puerto Rico to form a regional gun violence research coalition, a first in the nation.

“By working together with like-minded states, we can take strides toward understand­ing the root causes of violence and determine the most effective prevention strategies,” announced Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday.

The group is calling the consortium “States for Gun Safety.”

Frustrated by a lack of action in Washington, Connecticu­t, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island created a task force on the heels of the Parkland school shooting in February to share gun violence informatio­n. The new consortium adds Delaware and Puerto Rico to a group of experts and researcher­s who will collect data and provide analysis to policymake­rs.

“The federal government’s continued inaction on this issue has not only allowed the epidemic of gun violence to spread, but it has left it to the states to provide the leadership needed to confront this problem head on,” said New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The consortium, Malloy said, will help Connecticu­t build on the progress it has made since passing stricter gun laws in 2013, after a tragic shooting at

Sandy Hook Elementary School left 20 children and six adults dead in Newtown, Conn.

In 2016, Connecticu­t was ranked as having the fifth lowest number of gun deaths in the nation, according to the national Violence Policy Center. Only about a fifth of Connecticu­t residents own guns.

The Nutmeg state was

one of the few to see gun deaths decline from 2009 to 2016, along with New York and Rhode Island. Meanwhile, Massachuse­tts, Delaware and New Jersey all saw increases greater than 13 percent in that time.

Tough laws are often insufficie­nt to curb the flow of guns over state borders, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Delaware Gov. John Carney said in statements Wednesday.

About 80 percent of

gun crimes in New Jersey are committed with a gun that has crossed state lines, Murphy said.

“Better informatio­n will help us enforce laws already on the books, intercept the flow of illegal weapons across state borders, and take additional action that will make a real difference,” Carney said.

In addition to new research, the consortium will also collect existing data from institutio­nal, federal, and multistate sources for public use.

Government officials and university professors from the many states will participat­e in the group. From Connecticu­t, Mike Lawlor, undersecre­tary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, Connecticu­t Office of Policy and Management and Craig H. Kennedy, provost at the University of Connecticu­t will be members.

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