Obama was brought to tears as he recalled the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. He said that steps like increasing background checks and enforcement of gun laws were “common sense” approaches that would reduce gun deaths in the United States.
“To see how moved the president is still from the Sandy Hook experience that we shared those days and when he came to Connecticut on that Sunday, the strength that he has, the willingness to go after this issue, to move the ball forward time and time again is tremendous. I support him in this,” Malloy said in a conference call following the president’s remarks.
During his remarks Tuesday Obama specifically mentioned efforts that Connecticut has made to increase background checks and gun safety courses, saying it has reduced gun deaths by 40 percent in the state. He also voiced support for a plan proposed by Malloy that would prevent gun from being sold to people on federal terror watchlists.
“It was nice that Connecticut was recognized for its leading gun violence legislation,” Malloy said.
Malloy said that while Connecticut has taken steps to reduce gun violence in the state, it can still be hard to police illegal gun sales, particularly over the Internet where background checks are often not performed.
“If that was to become a national cause and a national requirement, and if it was to be policed on a national basis – and the president has called for 200 additional agents to do just that – then we close that very large loophole for Internet sales in all 50 states as opposed to just a handful of states. And that makes the nation safer.”
He added that Connecticut has increased funding for mental health care every year for the past five years, and that he was glad to see Obama call for an additional $500 million in funding to help people get access to mental health care.
Malloy said that while he was at the White House he had several conversations regarding his plans to ban people on watchlists from purchasing guns.
“It’s still being worked on, it’s a complicated issue, they believe they can get there, they’re trying to get there, it has a great amount of support in the White House, but they’ve got a lot of hurdles,” he said.
He added that the majority of Americans support background checks, and that those who argue against it are doing so for political gain.
“I get that, I’ve been in politics most of my life, I get what they’re doing. I know what Donald Trump wants to do, I know what [Ted] Cruz wants to do, he wants to get as many of the most radical votes in a Republican primary or caucus as they can. But they’re dead wrong.”
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