Contact: Laurence Grotheer
January 18, 2013
State Senator Toni H. Harp (D-New Haven), co-chair of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, today began the serious work of the bipartisan, legislative task force to address gun violence prevention and children’s safety issues. The task force was created to help channel the flow of ideas and the groundswell of formal initiatives prompted by the Newtown shootings on December 14th.
The task force is comprised of three separate working groups to focus on these components of the issue: gun violence prevention, school security evaluations, and mental health screening and services. Senator Harp will co-chair the working group to address mental health resources.
“It is not overstated to suggest our response to this tragedy in Connecticut will be watched closely by policymakers in Washington, D.C. and in many other state capitals nationwide, so we are compelled not only to act, but to do so in a timely fashion,” Senator Harp said. “The horror and utter heartbreak we all continue to feel after the Newtown shootings last month brings into stark relief the undeniable fact that 30,000 deaths per year from gunfire are entirely too many.”
Senator Harp said she is particularly eager to follow-up on one of President Obama’s recommendations with regard to enhanced delivery of mental health services: renewed focus on adolescents and providing for them access to the specific resources they need.
“So much of the gun violence we have witnessed is committed by troubled young people—we really must redouble our efforts to help adolescents with their unique developmental issues,” Senator Harp said. “Researchers are consistently learning more about brain development and the challenges some young adults face. We have to be sure all that new information becomes widely available so it can be useful.”
“Legislative leadership is right to assemble this task force so something positive and productive can emerge from such tragic circumstances,” Senator Harp added. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this important and timely effort.”
Vice Chair: Aging
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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