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CT advocates against gun violence gather after Maine shooting, encourage gun buybacks

Dr. David Shapiro (left) of St. Francis Hospital ,Kristen Song (center), whose son Ethan was lost to an unsecured gun, and Po Murray (right) of the Newtown Action Alliance, and all spoke about the importance of securing any guns in the home.
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Dr. David Shapiro (left), a trauma surgeon at St. Francis Hospital, Kristen Song (center), whose son Ethan was lost to an unsecured gun, and Po Murray (right) of the Newtown Action Alliance, all spoke about the importance of securing guns in the home.

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After hearing about the tragic mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, that claimed the lives of at least 18 people and injured 13 others, the leaders and advocates against gun violence in Connecticut held a press conference at the Capitol in Hartford.

Po Murray leads the Newtown Action Alliance, which was founded by residents of the town after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that look the lives of 20 children and six educators. Murray expressed her condolences to the victims, their families and the communities affected in Maine.

“We know too well what they’re going through, but what we don’t know is being locked down for days until the gunman has been apprehended,” she said. “Our hearts are with their community.”

Murray also mentioned that the Newtown Action Alliance had contacted other gun safety organizations in Maine to offer their help. One of their missions is to advocate for legislation.

Connecticut passed stronger gun laws last year, which required gun owners to lock up their guns at home. Advocates said this was a step towards reducing the risks of having guns at home, such as homicide, suicide and domestic violence cases.

“It’s really important that guns are locked up,” Murray said. “So until we wait for Congress to pass strong gun laws on a federal level, we need to do all we can to keep our children and our families safe.”

Since 2013, Connecticut has also banned the kind of rifle the suspect in Maine allegedly used Wednesday evening. Maine, however, does not.

“Use Connecticut’s law as a model. Use Massachusetts law as a model,” urged Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Byseiwicz.

Murray and other organizers of the annual #KeepKidsSafe gun buyback program said for the past two years since the event started, they have collected over 850 guns, including 14 assault weapons like the kind used in Maine. They also distributed more than 600 gun safes.

Connecticut residents can turn in unwanted firearms on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., unless otherwise noted, at the following locations: 

Guilford: Guilford Police Department, 400 Church Street, Guilford

Hartford: (9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.): Capital Region Gun Buyback, Hartford Department of Public Works, 50 Jennings Road, Hartford

Meriden: Meriden Police Department, 50 West Main Street, Meriden

Middletown: Middletown Police Department, 222 Main Street, Middletown

Newtown: Newtown Police Department, 191 South Main Street, Newtown

Norwalk: Norwalk Police Headquarters, 1 Monroe Street, Norwalk

Stamford: (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.): Stamford Police Department, 725 Bedford Street, Stamford

Waterbury: Waterbury Police Department Training Center, 240 Bank Street, Waterbury

People who choose to participate can stay anonymous, with no identification required and no questions asked. Gift cards ranging from $200 for assault weapons, to $100 for pistols or revolvers, to $50 for rifles and shotguns, to $25 for handguns and any type of black powder gun will be offered in exchange. The guns will be destroyed.

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

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