Lawmakers announce creation of task force to stop gun violence - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lawmakers announce creation of task force to stop gun violence


Gun violence, school safety and mental health were the topic of discussion Tuesday at the state Capitol as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle announced the creation of a bipartisan task force.

"I believe that we can work together with them (families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting) and they can provide information on a rolling basis to us," said state Senate President Donald Williams.

Leaders from the House and Senate announced the creation of the Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety Task Force.

The panel of Democratic and Republican legislators will be divided into three subcommittees, which will focus on gun control, school safety and mental health. The members will work across party lines.

Legislators said why they decided to combine into one task force instead of two groups.

"So that the more people involved in the process, the better as far as I am concerned," said Minority Leader Larry Cafero. "We are legislative branch and we took oath to take action."

The debate continues to divide and has people choosing sides over the right to bear arms or enacting laws designed to curb gun violence.

"I don't know all the ins and outs of gun control," said Judy Lefkowitz. "It's not my thing, but I think the way it stands now, it's like the Wild Wild West."

Already several bills have been introduced, and some of them parallel what Vice President Joe Biden is recommending to President Barack Obama - a renewed ban on assault rifles and reducing high capacity clips, which has many gun owners worried.

This is now the second task force formed in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Gov. Dannel Malloy established the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, a 16-member panel that have been given the task of bringing him recommendations on those same three categories by mid-March in time for the regular session.

The new Legislative panel, announced Tuesday, said in addition to acting as a clearing house for the proposals that are being offered by lawmakers, it will also keep tabs on the work being conducted by Malloy's committee.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said the governor's commission isn't expected to make recommendations until the middle of March. He said he feels lawmakers can get a lot done in the short term.

The new task force met Tuesday and said its goal is to pass some sort of legislation by the end of February.

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