Parents of the victims in the Newtown school shootings made an emotional plea to Connecticut lawmakers on Monday, urging a "complete limit" on high-capacity gun magazines like the ones Adam Lanza used to carry out the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
"The horrible, brutal truth is that 154 bullets were fired in four minutes, killing our children, our daughters, our wives," said Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son, Dylan, was killed in the Dec. 14 shootings. She spoke at a press conference in Hartford, where state lawmakers were expected to be presented with gun control proposals Monday afternoon.
"As supporters of the Second Amendment, we want to understand how we can use technology, innovation and new thinking to solve an old intractable problem," Hockley continued. "We specifically want an up or down vote on the banning of these large-capacity magazines with no grandfathering clause, because we learned the way that no other parent should learn the most dangerous part of the assault weapon is the magazine."
Last week, search warrants related to the massacre were unsealed by a court, showing Lanza was found dead inside the school with 10 magazines capable of firing 30 rounds at a time. Twenty children and six adults were killed at the school before the 20-year-old gunman shot himself with a handgun.
"We have learned that in the time it took him to reload in one of the classrooms, 11 children were able to escape," Hockley said. "We ask ourselves every day, every minute that if those magazines had held 10 rounds, forcing the shooter to reload six more times, would our children be alive today?"
Hockley, surrounded by the parents of other victims, read a letter signed by 24 family members asking lawmakers to "have the courage to stand up for what you know is right."
“The more times you have to reload, the more opportunities there are to escape and to stop the shooting,” Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel Barden was killed in the shootings, said at the press conference.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy released a separate statement to lawmakers on Monday afternoon:
I have been clear for weeks that a ban on the possession and sale of high capacity magazines is an important part of our effort to prevent gun violence—simply banning their sale moving forward would not be an effective solution. This morning, we heard from victims' families on that very point. They’ve asked for an up or down vote on that provision and, whether it's in the larger bill or as an amendment, the families, and every resident of our state, deserve a vote. We know this is an issue that has bipartisan support, including from Senate Minority Leader John McKinney. We cannot lose sight of our ultimate goal—improving public safety for all of our residents, including our children.
Connecticut's General Assembly had been considering gun-control legislation in the wake of the Newtown shootings, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. State lawmakers said they would delay a vote on gun control until after search warrants related to the school shootings were unsealed.
According to the Hartford Courant, a vote could come as early as this week.
The final police report on the massacre is not expected to be finished until June.