STAMFORD, Conn. — More mental health and societal resources can help make sure shootings in Newtown do not happen again, several community leaders told U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes Thursday in Stamford.
“I live in a town now with great grief, but also great hope,” Judy Gardner, a Sandy Hook resident and president of the Fairfield chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health, said, explaining that people there want good to come out of the shooting.
She added she will be working to create a Newtown chapter of her organization to help parents find resources for their children dealing with psychological issues.
“We hope we keep your attention long enough to find comprehensive answers,” said Sherry Perlstein, president of the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut. She further explained that mental illnesses vary, and there is no easy way to figure out who will act out violently.
The Rev. Kate Heichler, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut and pastor at Church of Christ the Healer in Stamford, offered the services of her and other religious and spiritual leaders because they are able to talk to people differently. Her organization also has held numerous events to bring people together and come up with action plans.
Both Himes and Murphy did say they are working to strengthen gun control laws, adding that despite what members of the National Rifle Association say more guns actually increases gun violence.
Murphy added that he is strongly against assault rifles and large-quantity magazines saying if Adam Lanza had to reload more, chances are he would have been apprehended or the gun would have jammed, saving more lives.
“A lot of what I had seen that day, I wish I hadn’t seen,” Murphy said of being in Newtown on Dec. 14, and he said he will use it as inspiration in passing tougher laws.