Honorable Senator Dodd,
After the Mumbai terrorist attacks, there has been talk about how to prepare for an attack here. One item that is frequently missed is that the choice of when and where to attack lies with the terrorists and, therefore, the police can do little to prevent them. The terrorists will simply attack where the police are not. If you put guards on the XL Center, the terrorists will attack the Arena at Harbor Yard. Put guards on the Arena, and they will attack a shopping mall. Put armed guards on the malls and they'll attack the next Huskies home game. There simply are not enough police to be everywhere so they'll simply go where the police are not. And since these terrorists are willing to die for their cause, the thought that the police will eventually arrive and stop them will not deter them. If India with its highly restrictive gun control could not stop the terrorists from getting the weapons they used to kill, no such gun control legislation in the US could stop similar attacks here.
Fortunately, however, Connecticut has a second line of defense against these terrorists. According to a 2004 article in the Indianapolis Star, there were then 125,000 residents of Connecticut who were licensed to carry handguns. The number has likely only gone up since then, considering the current backlog in processing and the lines I saw when I went in for my renewal. In most large crowds there will be some who are licensed to carry. Not all will be carrying at any given time and not all will have the fortitude to stand up to the terrorists and stop them from killing the people around them, but some will. And so we are guarded even where the police are not--by our own citizens.
Unfortunately, there are areas where those guards, provided without charge to the State or to the people so guarded, cannot go. There remain soft targets where terrorists like those in Mumbai could find fertile killing fields. Those targets are our schools, our state buildings, and many of our public areas. The threat is to our children and youth who are the very future of our nation. The very ones to whom we should be giving the greatest protection are instead the most vulnerable.
It is vitally important that our schools and universities be protected from terrorists such as those who struck Mumbai. One way would be to hire and train armed security personnel for every school and university in the country, enough to have several in every building whenever children are present. This would be a costly undertaking and would take considerable time to implement. The other solution is far less expensive and that is to allow individuals who have a clean criminal record and no serious mental health issues--people, in fact, who can successfully obtain an Connecticut handgun license--to be armed in such places and to encourage teachers and facility in such places to do so. This will provide the same, free, armed security that the rest of our State enjoys.
It is frightening to consider that 8 men armed with cheap and popular rifles were able to hold the entire city of Mumbai hostage for nearly a week because that society had gone so far to remove weapons from its populace that the only defense was the police, and they were woefully unprepared. I would like to think this sort of thing could never happen in this country, because of our proud heritage of individual rights and defense of our ideals. While Connecticut is one of the better states in the Northeast when it comes to firearm ownership, many of our gun control laws and policies have gone too far, robbing constituents like myself of their ability to own basic arms for recreation, sport, and when it comes down to it, defense.
Senator, please consider very carefully the chilling effects of existing and upcoming legislation. If the kind of restrictions that are applied to our right to own and bear arms were levied against any other God-given right in the constitution that defines this great country, there would be a great uproar from more than just those of us who have carefully considered the social contract and our role in society. Firearms regulation only effects those good souls likely to obey it, leaving them defenseless in the face of common criminals who are not, and other enemies foreign and domestic.
Thank you for your time. I would like to close by linking you to this invaluable gun control fact sheet, in case you would like to see some well cited facts regarding the deterrent effect privately owned firearms have on crime: http://www.gunfacts.info