In national politics last week there was talk of little else than gun violence, white nationalism and gun control following the fatal shootings of 31 people in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

There was little more than talk, too.

Toward the end of the week, under enormous pressure from local mayors, Democrats and the public at large, President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed some willingness to entertain a debate on universal background checks for gun purchasers and other possible legislation.

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is a big proponent of so-called “red flag” laws that are gaining some bipartisan support following the recent massacres. A reinstatement of the assault weapons ban is another idea that seemed to be gaining some new traction, but not in Congress and not in the way Connecticut House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, briefly had in mind.

The subject of gun violence has been greatly concerning to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy since the horrible day in 2012 when a gunman shot and killed a total of 26 first graders and their teachers in Newtown. It was the inspiration for “The Violence Inside Us,” a book he is writing on the subject.

Cecilia Caride, of Windsor, said her message to Rep. John Larson was clear.

Even before Trump’s fraught and uncomfortable visits to console Dayton and El Paso, a lot of West Hartford voters were frustrated and angry that U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, has not supported the idea of pursuing impeachment hearings for the president — and they told him so.   Neither are some state folks happy about the president’s rollback of protections for transgender people.

Equally emotional, perhaps, has been the subject of vaccinations for public school students and whether some should be exempt from them for religious reasons. Health officials last week said they would advocate for the removal of all non-medical exemptions. Five Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, are urging the state’s new director of public health to stay out of the issue.

Vaccinated or not, about a third of the state’s high school juniors — many of them black or Hispanic — are not ready for college or a career, the latest test results show.

In its efforts to improve the educations of state students, the nonprofit Partnership for Connecticut  may have to be more transparent that state officials originally planned, State Attorney General William Tong says. It is not clear what if anything should be done about the state’s $100 million contribution to the partnership — made outside the budget’s spending cap. (The good news is that the state has managed to not spend down its budget reserves, that are at a record high.)

The state has been less successful in its efforts to resolve the casino gambling controversy surrounding the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribal nations’ proposed casino in East Windsor.  The tribes rejected Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposal they drop that plan in favor of another location, and MGM Resorts International filed a suit with a similar objective.

Paul has more than 40 years of reporting and editing experience at newspapers in New Jersey, Florida and Connecticut. He worked 22 years at the Hartford Courant in various editing roles including as deputy state editor, assistant editor of Northeast Magazine, and as an associate editor at He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. A trained chef, he and his wife own and operate a bed and breakfast in an historic home in Mansfield.

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  1. I once commented to a high Foxwood tribal official at the casino that they should try to buy the large timbered lot across the street from their very crowded main parking lot to ease their parking problem. I was shocked to be told they already owned it, but were waiting, because under an apparent sweetheart law, if they buy and then hold a piece of property without doing anything with it for ten years, it is declared part of the reservation, and goes off the tax rolls. I assume if this is true, it means they could conceivably buy the entire state one parcel at a time, and annex it to the reservation? Please say it isn’t true.

  2. Sen Gillibrand pushes gun confiscation

    “I think we should ban assault weapons as well as large magazines, and as part of passing that ban, do a buyback program across the country so that those who own them can be … compensated for their money that they spent. But I think both of those ideas are strong,” Gillibrand told CNN.

    “You don’t want people to retain them because if you make them illegal, you don’t want to grandfather in all the assault weapons that are all across America,” Gillibrand said when pressed on whether such a buyback program should be mandatory. “You would like people to sell them back to the government so that you can make sure people who shouldn’t have access to these weapons couldn’t have them.”

    While some candidates have mentioned voluntary buybacks (that will change), DeBlasio and Booker have also pushed for mandatory buybacks of so-called ‘assault rifles.’ We all know it won’t stop there.

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