Newtown residents express support for Obama gun plan
BY GARY STOLLER USA TODAY
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/17/13 at 4:34 AM
Follow the gun debate: Read complete coverage of the issue.Original Print Headline: Gun plan gets Newtown praise
NEWTOWN, Conn. - In this town where tragedy relaunched the nation's debate over gun violence, people on all sides of the political divide expressed support Wednesday for President Barack Obama's proposals to ban assault weapons and establish tighter background checks for gun buyers.
"It shouldn't be a Democratic or a Republican issue," said Marsha Moskowitz, a Democrat who supports the president's proposals. "It's a human issue. It's about humanity."
First Selectwoman Pat Llodra, a Republican who is Newtown's chief executive, said she supports them, too.
Llodra, who attended Obama's announcement, was in Washington meeting with mayors who support efforts to reduce gun violence, improve mental health policies and address school safety needs.
"We are past the time for political ideology or rhetoric - this is the time for change," Llodra said in a written statement. "It should not be an issue of Democrats or Republicans - the I-say-yes, so-you-say-no nonsense we have all witnessed the past few years."
In last year's presidential election, Newtown voted for Republican Mitt Romney. In 2008, Obama won most of the Newtown vote.
Moskowitz said she understand the concern about the Second Amendment right to bear arms, "but there's no need for assault weapons in personal homes or for hunting."
She supports stiffer background checks for gun buyers.
"Everyone shouldn't be able to just get a gun," she said.
Moskowitz is a former school bus driver who at one time drove two of the children killed in the Dec. 14 shootings, Grace McDonnell and Dylan Hockley, to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Years earlier, she drove Adam Lanza to Newtown Middle School.
Police say Lanza used an assault weapon last month to kill 20 children and six adults at the elementary school after killing his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Sandy Hook home.
Moskowitz said she understands hunters' concerns and doesn't support a ban on all weapons.
Sandy Hook resident Alan Brown, a gun owner and "a life-long Republican" who voted for Romney, said Obama's proposals make "a whole lot of sense to me."
"I don't think our Founding Fathers who adopted the Second Amendment would have ever wanted Americans to have a machine of mass destruction in their hands," he said.
Newtown, Conn., First Selectwoman Pat Llodra (right) speaks outside the White House in Washington on Wednesday. From left are New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence President Dan Gross and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. SUSAN WALSH/Associated Press