© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lamont calls for more gun reform and says feds cut off free bus rides in CT

Gov. Ned Lamont speaks with Where We Live host Catherine Shen on March 28, 2023.
Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public
Gov. Ned Lamont speaks with Where We Live host Catherine Shen on March 28, 2023.

Gov. Ned Lamont is urging state lawmakers to pass stricter gun control measures in Connecticut after a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, that left six people dead.

“What the heck is going on?” Lamont said, speaking on Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live on Tuesday. “I don’t remember this growing up — these types of shootings, in schools, targeting the most vulnerable.”

Six people were killed at a small, private Christian school just south of downtown Nashville on Monday after a shooter opened fire inside the building containing about 200 students, police said.

In Connecticut, Lamont is proposing new rules this legislative session to limit the sale and possession of certain types of guns. He said lawmakers also need to better regulate ghost guns — firearms that can be constructed at home and are difficult to trace.

“These illegal plastic guns that you can turn into a machine gun,” Lamont said. “They deliver by mail — it’s tough to keep out.”

State lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to advance Lamont's proposal, which the governor said in a statement represented “a fair, commonsense balance that respects the rights of Americans to own guns for their own protection and sportsmanship while also acknowledging that we must take actions to protect the people who live in our communities.”

Free bus rides ending, Lamont says feds cut it off

Saturday marks the end of free public transit bus rides in Connecticut.

Lamont said the policy, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic, was a lifeline for many working people in the state.

But the governor said the end of the rides on Saturday is due to federal regulations.

“So the feds — the federal Department of Transportation — comes to us, and this is a little odd to me, and says, ‘You can’t provide free bus service until you do an equity study,’” Lamont said. “So we’re going to do that ‘equity study.’ Maybe it’s something we can revisit, but I wasn’t allowed by federal law to continue it. I wish I could.”

But state lawmakers seem more cautious. While they voted last November to continue the free bus program, just this week a bill to require the state Department of Transportation to conduct that study failed to make it out of committee.

The state DOT said it is undertaking a “Unified Fare Project” to explore creating a uniform fare and consistent fare policies across all CTtransit and district bus services.

“We’ll also look at the feasibility of expanding discount fare programs to additional riders,” DOT spokesperson Josh Morgan said in a statement.

Morgan said when fares resume on Saturday, April 1, CTtransit will launch a partnership with Token Transit, “making buying bus passes straightforward from a mobile device.”

The state is also exploring “open loop payments” that allow riders to pay fares by tapping their credit or debit card, showing their phone or using a dedicated transit app.

“We’ve heard the desire for more frequent and expanded bus services from transit riders,” Morgan said, noting Lamont’s budget proposal also “includes significant funding for additional bus services in Connecticut.”

Morgan said the CT DOT is also welcoming feedback through Friday, March 31, on ways to improve transit.

Lamont on New Haven man paralyzed in police custody

During a wide-ranging interview with Where We Live, Lamont also discussed the latest regarding an incident in New Haven in which a man was paralyzed from the chest down last year in a police van that braked suddenly.

New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson recently recommended that four officers be fired for mistreating the man, Richard “Randy” Cox.

Last week, Jacobson said internal affairs investigations found that the officers committed misconduct. Jacobson’s recommendations now go to city police commissioners. Officials say a fifth officer committed misconduct but can't be disciplined because he retired.

“The Randy Cox case was tragic,” Lamont said. “That’s not typical. We have some of the best police in the country. I’ve continued to try and recruit police — I’ve tried to recruit the most diverse group of police, so they reflect their communities.”

In January, Lamont praised legislative approval of a contract with state police. The governor said the package would boost pay and offer tuition reimbursement and other incentives to increase recruitment.

Meanwhile, the five officers in the Cox case are criminally charged.

“What happened in the Randy Cox case is absolutely unacceptable,” Lamont said.

A lawyer for one of the New Haven officers says they're being used as scapegoats for the department's inadequate training and policies.

Connecticut Public Radio's Catherine Shen and Tess Terrible and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.