Some Stratford Democrats are saying a resolution passed by the Town Council last month failed to send an important message on gun violence to state and federal legislators in the wake of the mass school shooting in Newtown.
"It was commendable to create a resolution [offering our condolences] but they stripped all her language," Neil Sherman, a Democratic Town Committee member, said of a resolution originally drafted by fellow DTC'er and Council member Stephanie Philips.
The "language" Sherman refers to relates to the support of proposals such as microstamping ammunition, restricting large-capacity ammunition feeding devices and universal background checks, ideas that continue to be debated on the state and federal level.
"Town Council members did not have any interest in participating in any discussion on this," said Philips, whose resolution (which can be read here) was stripped of its gun policy elements before it came to a vote. "Their formal statement is it was the responsibility of the legislators [in Hartford and Washington]."
The approved resolution, which passed by a unanimous vote (and can be read in full here), did not voice support for any specific policy, but instead stated:
State and federal officials must continue to look at ways to help prevent future tragedies, including but not limited to a review and responsible action on public policy regarding public health and safety.
Council Chairman Joseph Kubic (R-9) did not return a call for comment last week but was quoted in the Stratford Star as saying, "It is not in our power to enact gun laws. It is not my responsibility, it is not an appropriate place to have a discussion on gun control. They are doing that in Hartford and Washington."
Kubic further told the Star, "I don't want to put members in a position of voting against sympathy for Newtown by voting against a part of the resolution about gun control."
Speaking at a Council meeting Monday night, Councilman John Dempsey (R-5) said it'd be wise to see what legislation state and federal officials develop re gun violence before passing a resolution on the topic.
Philips said officials in nearby towns, such as Westport, have passed similar resolutions supporting policies aimed at reducing gun violence. And while a local resolution does not carry any direct legislative weight, Philips said it is a symbolic gesture that can influence state laws which will ultimately impact municipalities.
"My counterparts are failing to realize this," said Philips, the sole Democrat on the 10-member Town Council. The Councilwoman said her original resolution reflected the views of her constituents in the Second District. Sherman, the DTC member, said it was "despicable" to deny the original resolution a spot on the agenda.
"If they want to vote it down, vote it down," Philips said. "As much as they say it's politics, it's both ways ... I was trying to say this is a town affected by Sandy Hook, this is a town that has had its share of gun violence and we want to do something about it."
See Related Stories
Philips: Opposition to Gun Resolution 'Inexcusable'
Stratford Votes to Name School After Fallen Teacher Victoria Soto
Vicki Soto's Sister: 'The Pain is Unbelievable'