Redding Police Chief Pushes For Gun Control At Forum

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Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs shows off an assault rifle at a public forum on gun violence Monday night.
Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs shows off an assault rifle at a public forum on gun violence Monday night. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind

REDDING, Conn. – Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs did something Monday night at a public forum on gun violence that he said police chiefs rarely do: He advocated for six forms of gun control legislation.

“Police chiefs are the executive branch, not the legislative branch,” Fuchs said to the state legislators in attendance. “You make the laws, and I enforce them.”

But after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, he said he supports such legislation. Fuchs started by advocating for a ban on high-capacity gun magazines to all but law enforcement. He displayed the assault rifle supplied to all Redding officers and the 20- and 30-bullet magazines that are used with it.

Fuchs recommended restricting assault rifles to police and military personnel; providing access to mental health records to those who review gun applications; giving police chiefs power in denying applications; requiring all firearms to be secured; and giving police the tools to protect residents.

Passing these laws “will turn a local tragedy into an opportunity for change,” he said.

The legislators he shared the stage with offered mixed views on gun control. State Sen. Toni Boucher, a Republican who represents Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton, strongly supported gun control. But Republican state Reps. John Shaban, who represents Easton, Redding and Weston, and Dan Carter, who represents parts of Danbury, Bethel, Newtown and Redding, emphasized the rights of gun owners.

But after a resident said that focusing on gun control gives people a false sense of security, Shaban said he supports a three-pronged approach to legislative change, which includes gun control, school security and mental health reform.

A variety of bills will go to committee for legislators to consider, Boucher said. Shaban said he’s a member of the Judicial Committee, which will review some proposed legislation, and Carter said he’s working on a committee with Boucher.

“We have a lot of things to do to make tough laws and respect citizens' Second Amendment rights,” he said.

A crowd of about 150 residents at the Community Center attended and asked questions. A woman suggested that background checks be administered to all members of an applicant’s family, and Boucher said that could be considered with legislation relating to gun storage.

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It is sad to see neighbors at odds with each other over guns, which has become completely political. It is even sadder to read the name calling immature play going on. Guns make some feel safe, others feel vulnerable.

I have horses and I love to be around them while many grown-up men and women are terrified of them because of their size, power, and unpredictability. Should they be taken away from me because most others feel differently than I? Obviously not. I take good care of them, I am responsible, and educated. I can make the same comparison with dogs. Many breeds have been used by humans trained to attack, causing the dog(s) to not trust and be defensive and often violent. There are some that would rather make laws to remove those dogs than to remove the people doing the harm to the dogs and society... for which logic I have no understanding. Punish the abusers harshly so they don't do it again. Just like humans, dogs are not born evil. I have a great solution to the animal abuse issue, take the animal(s) away, make the abuser do some time or hard community service, and attachethe person(s) pay/assets to support the animal(s) as you would be required to support a dependent child.

Guns don't kill people. People kill people. How come the world has spiraled out of control on bullying, especially in schools? My kids are grown and we've talked about it. Their response was "you'd kill us" if we treated someone else like that. Of course I would not "kill" them, they would be punished. But all to often in the world we see first hand kids getting away with too many things growing up, blaming others instead of taking responsibility for ones actions. Then where is their common respect for others when they are young adults and still maturing?

I do wish everyone would focus on the bigger picture of mental instability, what is causing it, how it is being treated, the side effects the drugs cause, etc... I applaud the Sandy Hook parent who lost their child, yet pointed this out and stated that guns are not the problem. It is unsettling to feel that the government is attempting through politics to modify or take away our rights. Guns are not all about hunting. They do provide protection. The police can not be at every house, it takes time for them to get there, and what if your ability to even call them has been disabled. The right side is never going to agree completely with the left side. My family was victim to a stalker. The police could not predict when this stalker was going to be here. They could not get here fast enough to catch the person. Thankfully, by our own self-defense in-house security measures nothing bad became of it and the person stopped. But in the minutes it takes the police to get to my home, if I'm able to call them, one needs to be able to protect themselves.

Why aren't the politicians focused on taking the guns out of hands of criminals, gangs, illegal means of obtaining, etc? Taking guns &/or ammunition away from law abiding citizens who follow all the rules and do what they are supposed to makes no sense. Anyone who thinks seven or ten bullets is "adequate" to defend ones self in a time of panic when being attacked - has never been attacked and had to actually defend themselves or others.

Bottom line is, no police force or government can say they have the ability to protect everyone at every given moment. Guns are a means of protection against many evil forces be it an intruder or any other evil force. The total number of people in the US vs the number of mass shooters is a tiny percentage and it is mass shootings that is driving this political bus.

If only the death statistics by firearms resembled the statistics incurred by horse and dog attacks. Good gun laws -- and there is sadly so much room for improvement to prevent trafficking and for allowing firearms into the wrong hands -- will only help prevent the high gun rate deaths that are a tragedy in this country; something I think future generations of Americans will look back on with shame, much like we do when looking back on pre-civil rights era laws. We need more freedom to pursue data and do studies on what is happening, something the NRA has succcessfully blocked through their influence in Congress. What are they afraid of? The results of these studies of course and and where the data will point in the end. We need common sense regulations. The number of deaths by guns in our nation, particularly in our cities, are an embarrassment to our nation. Safe storage laws, background checks, shared information from states, will only help to curtail out of control violence. Who could be against these changes?

In general I respect the police, like the sheriff in WI who urges his citizens to arm themselves because he knows his limitations in protecting the people. There are a lot of good honest cops like him. But I have no respect for this police chief Douglas Fuchs and cops like him. How can you respect people who tell you the things you CAN'T have/do to protect your family. Of all people he should know better. I guarantee you the chief has a high capacity magazine in his Glock at his home to protect his family, and he probably owns an AR-15 with a 30-round magazine. Can you spell hypocrisy?

I don't need no stinking politicians or cops to tell me what I need to protect my family.

This unelected town employee needs to shut his mouth; or tell us how the police protected that poor family in Cheshire who were raped and murdered by animals, while the police, who had been informed by the mother that the crime was in progress, stood by in a "perimeter". Police are more historians and investigators of crimes than preventers of it. Don't be a sheep. Get a weapon with a high-capacity magazine, or a shotgun; and protect your family, regardless of any laws passed or advocated. That, rather than riding busses, or signing petitions, is your duty. Mourn Newtown; act as Cheshire dictates.