As state and federal responses to the Newtown massacre begin to accelerate, the governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission will begin work Thursday with an update from the state's attorney's office on its investigation into the shooting.
Also Thursday, in Washington, D.C., congressional leaders, including members of the Connecticut delegation, will introduce federal legislation banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
And in coming days, the General Assembly's own task force will begin a series of hearings on gun violence and school safety.
At Thursday's hearing in Hartford before the 16-member advisory commission, Danbury Assistant State's Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky will review the progress of the police investigation into the Dec. 14 shooting, which killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. To date, there have been few official statements about the investigation.
The commission will then move on to presentations by experts involved in the aftermath of the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings.
Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter will discuss the work of the Columbine Review Commission. Ritter, district attorney for Denver at the time of the Columbine attack, was a member of the commission.
Richard Bonnie, director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, will also appear. Bonnie was a consultant to the Virginia Tech Review Panel and is chairman of the Virginia Commission on Mental Health Law Reform.
The hearing begins at 10:30 a.m. in Room 2C at the Legislative Office Building. It will be broadcast live on the Connecticut Network, CT-N.
Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, who chairs the panel, said the group does not have a "predetermined" agenda.
"About half of the people who talk to me about this mistakenly call this the gun panel. That's not what it is," Jackson said.
He said the panel is not just about guns. It will also review school safety, mental health, and gun violence, and the members will wait until they hear testimony from experts at their meetings before coming to conclusions.
"Having communicated by phone or email with just about everyone on the panel in the last few days, I have a high degree of confidence that we're going to come up with something that makes sense,'' Jackson said.
In Washington, the legislation being introduced Thursday will coincide with a key proposal of President Obama's response to the Newtown shooting: a federal ban on assault weapons.
"We are announcing the first step in our comprehensive response to the violence. It will ban military-style, semi-automatic weapons and also any magazine that accepts more than 10 rounds,'' U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said of the proposed legislation. Co-sponsors will include Sen. Chris Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, both of Connecticut, and Sen. Diane Feinstein of California.
"There is a fight coming,'' Murphy said Wednesday evening. "It starts tomorrow."
"An assault weapons and high-capacity clip ban is the most important thing you can do to save lives. If the bill we are introducing tomorrow had been in effect in December there would still be little girls and boys alive in Newtown,'' Murphy said.
"I'm making a bet that the country has been transformed after Newtown and there is a political cost to members who stand in the way of gun reform," he said.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times