Published on February 14, 2023


HARTFORD, CONN (February 14, 2023) – Today, Mayor Luke Bronin of Hartford, Mayor Justin Elicker of New Haven, Mayor Neil O'Leary of Waterbury, Mayor Joe Ganim of Bridgeport, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities President Mayor Tom Dunn of Wolcott, and Chief State's Attorney Patrick Griffin gathered to present, endorse and seek passage of a series of legislative recommendations devised by a CCM taskforce on reducing gun violence.  The taskforce developed ten specific proposals centered around reducing gun violence by repeat offenders.  They were also joined by community advocates, families, law enforcement officials, and other stakeholders.  Governor Lamont joined the announcement and expressed his support for the proposals.

In October of 2022, the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities established a special task force on reducing gun violence. The task force convened with a narrow mission: to develop proposals for increasing accountability for repeat offenders involved in gun violence. The task force developed ten specific proposals, which can be summarized by the following broader recommendations:

  • Establish a definition of “serious firearm offense” that results in increased accountability when committed by someone with a serious criminal history
  • Require individuals with a history of certain past offenses to post a higher percentage of their bond when arrested for a new serious firearm offense
  • Increase accountability for individuals who commit serious firearm offenses while on pre-trial release (“out on bail”) for certain prior offenses
  • Increase accountability for individuals who commit serious firearm offenses while on probation or parole for certain prior offenses
  • Strengthen consequences for the crime of criminal possession of a firearm (“felon in possession”)
  • Streamline the adjudication process for serious firearm offenses

“These proposals are just one piece of a broader approach to reducing gun violence, but they’re an important piece – and they will help save lives in our communities,” said Mayor Bronin.  “These proposals are specifically focused on those who have a significant history of prior offenses and who continue to commit serious firearm offenses.  The bottom line is that if you’re committing a serious firearm offense after you already have a history of serious offenses, or you commit a serious firearm offense while you’re out on bail, probation, or parole, there’s got to be real consequences and real accountability.  We need to continue making investments in community violence intervention, in reentry support, in job training, in mental and behavioral health treatment and trauma and recovery, and in creating more opportunity in communities affected by violence.  But we also need to enact these common-sense proposals to reduce gun violence by serious repeat offenders.”

"Gun violence can’t be solved with one policy– it’s an epidemic that we’ve got to attack from all angles. I’m urging Connecticut to enroll in a comprehensive treatment plan– one that breaks the cycle of violence with funds for prevention and intervention programs, provides victims with support, and raises the stakes for repeat offenders,” said Governor Ned Lamont.  “Though only one part of the state’s broad strategy to reduce gun violence, this proposal will save lives."

“In New Haven, like other cities across Connecticut, a very small number of repeat offenders are responsible for a very large amount of the gun violence,” said Mayor Justin Elicker of New Haven.  “Of the individuals arrested in New Haven in 2022 for fatal and non-fatal shootings, over 60 percent were on pre-trail release, probation, or parole. We are committed to doing everything we can to support formerly incarcerated individuals re-entry society through our social service supports and programs. However, individuals with a history of serious firearm offenses and continue to engage in violence need to know that if they commit another act of gun violence, they will be held accountable. These new proposals coupled with the rest of our multi-pronged strategy to address gun violence and historic investments into the community strike the right and necessary balance to keep all our residents safe.”

Mayor Neil O’Leary of Waterbury stated, “Reducing gun violence is critical and the data is clear; many of those committing gun violence are convicted felons out on bail, probation or parole. Policies must be implemented to keep these repeat violent offenders off our city streets. We must acknowledge the traumatic impacts these acts of violence create in our cities starting with the victims and their families but also all of our residents and their families both young and old. People residing in our cities are living in fear each and every day and those people and their fears must be recognized and respected.”

Mayor Joe Ganim of Bridgeport stated, “We must do all that we can to resolve ongoing issues surrounding gun violence. To get ahead of these issues, we need to hold repeat offenders responsible for the seriousness of their actions that effects their own lives and the lives of other people. We must protect our citizens and I’m committed to fighting for Bridgeport as we tackle gun violence to keep our friends and families safe in the communities they live in.”

“We want to make certain that individuals are not back on the street as quickly as they come back on the streets,” said Deb Davis, Director of Project Development and Management for Mothers United Against Violence.  “So we’re standing here as mothers that have had children taken – I never say lost, because we didn’t lose them, because they were taken from us.  Our fight is more than just how to find some comfort, our fight is to support proposals like this that are going to make a difference in our communities.”

“We need to make sure that victims and families are feeling protected and live safely,” said Dawn Spearman of Bridgeport’s You Are Not Alone, a community organization focused on curbing gun violence.  “We thank you for not forgetting about these families and the families we hope never have to see this.”

“Gun violence in Connecticut can be attributed by and large to a small number of repeat felony offenders,” said Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin.  “Statistical analysis shows that these individuals are doing the shooting and the dying on Connecticut’s streets.  Identifying and holding this group accountable, is the surest way to save lives.”

The recommendations are guided by the data, which shows that a significant percentage of gun violence in Connecticut cities is committed by individuals who are on pre-trial release, parole, or probation.  In Hartford, 58% of the individuals arrested last year for fatal and non-fatal shootings were on pre-trial release, probation, and parole. In Waterbury, 30% were on pre-trial release and 40% were on probation.

A significant share of victims of gun violence were also on pre-trial release, probation, or parole.  Over one-quarter of victims of gun violence in Hartford last year were on pre-trial release or probation, and in Waterbury, more than 30% of victims were on pre-trial release, probation, or parole.

Detailed list of proposals.(PDF, 474KB)

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