Families of victims killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting are making an emotional plea that any new state gun control law does not include a clause that grandfathers existing large-capacity magazines, as state lawmakers get ready to learn more about legislative leaders' gun control deal.
Twenty children and six educators were killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012.
In the letter the family members delivered to Connecticut lawmakers on Monday, they wrote that the Sandy Hook shooter carried 10 magazines, which each held 30 bullets, and left many smaller magazines at home.
"Miraculously, in the time that it took him to reload in one of the classrooms, 11 children were able to escape and are alive today," the family members wrote in their letter to lawmakers. "We are left to wonder, what if the Sandy Hook shooter had been forced to reload not 6 times but 15 times. Would more children, would our children, be alive today?"
The letter was delivered on the day that lawmakers are set to learn more about bipartisan legislation that legislative leadership has reached agreement on.
During a news conference on Monday morning, Nicole Hockley, mother of slain first-grader Dylan Hockley, spoke and asked for no grandfather clause.
Those who lost family members said they believe that large-capacity magazines are the most dangerous feature of an assault weapon and fear that people would be able to buy high-capacity magazines in other states and bring them into Connecticut, claiming to have owned them before new laws took effect.
"Additionally, the 'grandfathered' possession of large capacity magazines is not in the public interest and exposes our communities to an unacceptable risk of additional mass shootings," the letter states.
Gov. Dannel Malloy released a statement in response to the letter.
"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," Malloy wrote.
"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."
In a poll released last month, Quinnipiac University's polling institute found that 70 percent of people support a statewide ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, while 27 percent opposed it.