WASHINGTON -- Connecticut's lieutenant governor is expressing disappointment with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) decision to exclude an assault weapons ban from federal gun control legislation.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman (D) told The Huffington Post that in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Conn., action is needed at the federal level to ban assault weapons, including the type used in the mass shooting last December. Wyman also is supporting a series of federal and state measures to address gun violence, and protect the rights of gun manufacturers.
Reid said Tuesday that he would not include the assault weapons ban sought by President Barack Obama, due to the lack of votes for passage in the Senate.
"I'm disappointed," Wyman said. "There is no need for these guns. They are not for hunting. I believe in the Second Amendment but these guns have killed people."
Wyman, in town for the National Lieutenant Governors Association Federal-State Relations Meeting, said that while the assault weapons ban may not move forward, she and other Connecticut political leaders are pushing for a series of federal gun control actions. These include background checks for gun purchases, the ability to track guns from owner-to-owner, mental health awareness and more money for school security.
In terms of school security, Wyman said she wants the federal government to provide funds for states to place resource officers in schools to provide security and handle building issues for safety.
Wyman, who attended numerous funerals related to Sandy Hook, noted that while school districts are locally controlled, state and local governments cannot fund the installation of new, safer doors and windows, and hiring resource officers.
With a variety of state legislatures around the country discussing plans to arm teachers, Wyman expressed concern with the plan. "The teachers don't want to carry guns," she said. "We need to make those buildings a lot more secure."
Wyman said that although state and federal governments must address gun control, the economic interests of gun manufacturers must also be protected, noting that her state is home to three manufacturing facilities. States can work with gun companies to help adjust plants to new laws, she said, noting that there is a need for guns, but in limited circumstances.
"We need them for law enforcement and the military," Wyman said. "We also need them for hunting. People have the right to go hunting. The assault weapons, though, are not made for hunting, they are made for killing."