HARTFORD – State Representative Rob Sampson (R-80), Chairman of the legislature’s Conservative Caucus, offered an up or down vote on legislation during an April 3 judiciary committee meeting that would have reversed the state’s bailout of Hartford, and voted to use those funds to reinstate the statewide firearms trafficking task force, provide funding to assist towns in hiring school resource officers, and for mental health beds.
“Governor Malloy and legislative Democrats are obviously more concerned with playing political games than actually addressing a major public safety issue like gun violence in our schools,” Sampson said in a press release. “Republicans have been the recipients of countless attacks from the administration because we will not support the governor’s gun control bills. Yesterday, I offered an amendment to one of those bills that would have eliminated funding for the misguided Hartford bailout, and would have prioritized those taxpayer dollars towards a much more worthy cause – increasing the safety of our public schools, and taking proactive steps towards ending mass shootings.”
Sampson introduced the amendment during a debate on H.B. 5542, An Act Concerning Bump Stocks and Other Means of Enhancing the Rate of Fire of a Firearm, which would ban the sale, transfer, possession, manufacturing or use of bump stocks in the state of Connecticut. The strike-all amendment would have redirected the $550 million from the Hartford bailout to fully fund the Statewide Firearms Trafficking Task Force, grants to municipalities for school resource officers, and mental health beds for involuntary commitments under existing state law.
“Yesterday, I gave them (Democrats on the Judiciary committee) the chance to take action on making our constituents safer instead of just offering rhetoric and accusations,” Sampson said in the press release. “Sadly, they proved for all to see what their priorities really are. Aside from the Hartford bailout, the recently enacted state budget is filled with questionable priorities such as the $40 million grant to renovate the XL Center while allowing critical programs and municipal aid to pay the price. I will not allow politics to result in further loss of life, and I genuinely believe that putting an end to illegal gun trafficking, hiring school resource officers to defend our schools, and addressing the growing mental health epidemic are the real solutions to this problem. These are the things our constituents want to see us accomplish. I made it clear my door is open when my colleagues are done playing politics and are ready to concentrate on sensible policy.”
Sampson’s amendment failed on a party-line vote, 19-20. H.B. 5542 ultimately received a joint favorable report from the Judiciary Committee, but did not receive Sampson’s support.