The massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas last month was entirely predictable because most US states failed to pass common sense gun control laws after previous mass shootings shook the nation, said William Tong, Connecticut Attorney General.
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Tong has a unique perspective on the tragedy in Texas, where 19 students and two teachers perished. He helped pass sweeping gun control measures after the worst school shooting in the US history in Newtown, Connecticut, a decade ago, when 20 students and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
For us in Connecticut, our response was, not again, Tong, a Democrat in office since January 2019, said in an interview. It was predictable for many of us, as policymakers and lawmakers. Texas and other states are grappling with what they can do to prevent future mass shootings due to the obstinacy of Republicans and the gun lobby, particularly the National Rifle Association. Such laws have passed in Democratic-controlled states.
The debate is more complicated because of the US Supreme Court's decision on a challenge to a New York law restricting who can carry a gun in public. If the court rules against New York, that could make it easier to challenge the constitutionality of gun control measures that are already on the books, Tong said.
That could be catastrophic for states like Connecticut that have strong gun laws that will be challenged, Tong said, calling it a meltdown scenario. Tong was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives during the Sandy Hook attack. He said parents of victims demanded lawmakers take action, and they followed through. Tong was instrumental in passing laws outlawing large capacity magazines and AR-15 style weapons in the state, as well as creating a rigorous permitting process for gun purchases.
We thought that we did something really meaningful in Connecticut and that other states would follow our lead, Tong said.
States should move quickly to pass new gun-control measures, including strict background checks that don't have loopholes for non-licensed gun sellers and so-called red flag laws that allow law enforcement to seize weapons when their owners demonstrate a propensity for violence, Tong said. He said that the restrictions on assault weapons are also important.
Weapons that have no purpose should be banned or restricted, Tong said.
Tong is working on a decision by the Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The draft opinion, which was a blow to abortion rights, has allowed him to work with other Democratic state AGs on strategies for dealing with the aftermath in court.
The AGs are preparing for a wave of litigation to be filed in states like Connecticut, where women from out of state come to seek abortions, Tong said. In Connecticut last month, a law protecting abortion providers and patients who have traveled from states where access is banned was passed.
Tong said that pro-choice AGs are looking at ways to get on the offensive.
Tong said that all of us have our strongest legal minds in the office thinking of ways to attack. We look for that every single day. None of Ukraine's tactics are showing Smaller Countries How to Fight Back Despite the fact that they are showing fewer countries how to fight back.
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