Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

May 24, 2023

Senator Gaston Leads Senate Passage on Bill Combating Gun Violence

Today, state Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport), Senate Chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, lead State Senate passage of a bill that will create new programs in our state to help reduce gun violence.

Senate Bill 1162, ‘An Act Requiring Community Roundtable and Funding Community Policing Programs To Combat Gun Violence’, passed the state senate and now heads to the House of Representatives.

“Too many young lives are lost every day to careless acts of gun violence, and we need to take the steps necessary in accountability and preventative measures,” said Sen. Gaston. “It takes a community and with a collaborative effort I am positive we can begin to make a difference. Every community member deserves to lay their head down at night not having to worry about the next shooting incident.”

Senate Bill 1162 requires law enforcement units to hold community roundtables to discuss with community representatives gun violence prevention methods.

Working together collaboratively with our law enforcement and sharing different policies allows for dedicated members of our community to produce new and innovative strategies to put an end to gun violence. In Bridgeport, a town Senator Gaston represents, crime has decreased from 2022. From January to March of 2022, there were 20 calls to Bridgeport police for shooting incidents. Within the same time frame, from January to March in this year of 2023, there were 11 calls for shooting incidents. These 11 incidents although decreased, still 11 too many. Discussions are critical as it allows different members in our community to come together and brainstorm solutions that can be used across each municipality here in our state.

SB 1162 requires law enforcement agencies in each town in Connecticut to hold meetings with representatives from social services and mental health agencies, organizations that serve the municipality, people from organizations that seek to combat gun violence in the municipality, representatives from the judicial branch, and one or more prosecutors serving the judicial district that includes the municipality. During these meetings, it will be encouraged to share information and data that has been collected over the past months while developing strategies to reduce gun violence and crime throughout the state. Discussions held will also require everyone to work collaboratively to improve the responsiveness and accountability of law enforcement. All these meetings that take place will be open to the public.

This robust approach takes a holistic and integrated methodology in addressing the root causes of violence and will help find multiple pathways to address it by having a myriad support of social services working to develop solutions. Recently, this bill was voted out of the Public Safety and Security Committee with bi-partisan support.