Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

December 14, 2023

Senator Gaston Attends Gun Violence Prevention Discussion at White House

This week, Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport) attended an invitation-only discussion on gun violence prevention. Senator Gaston, invited by President Biden and VP Kamala Harris, spent Wednesday with other legislators from across the country sharing practices and innovative strategies preventing gun violence.

Senator Gaston discussed Bill 6667 passed during the 2023 legislative session, which bans the open carry of firearms and strengthens rules for gun storage and reporting stolen firearms. It also expands a ban on AR-15s and other so-called assault weapons passed in 1993 and updated in 2013.

“It was an honor to receive an invitation to the White House following my work on progressive public safety legislation in Connecticut,” said Senator Gaston. “It was informative and of great value to listen to other leaders discuss gun violence prevention, emergency response standards, and various strategies on working to eliminate gun violence. Being able to address the issue of urban gun violence brings a stronger awareness to the issue that is often caused by systemic racism.”

Senator Gaston discussed research that shows states such as Connecticut, with some of the strongest gun safety laws, have the lowest rates of suicides and murders by firearms. The majority of gun deaths are by suicide.

Senator Gaston also addressed the issue of urban gun violence, which could be a byproduct of systemic racism that often gets undercut by the poverty argument, or folks belonging to communities that get labeled criminal. Sen. Gaston said, “we know there is a correlation between poverty and crime so we need to invest in more diversion programs, raise awareness to increase public safety, and adequately fund trauma informed therapeutic programs to disrupt urban gun violence in communities needing it the most.”

This epidemic violence visited upon these communities creates generational trauma for both victims and the families of perpetrators, especially if they continuously have to live amongst each other because there’s literally no way out.

During the 2024 legislative session, Senator Gaston would like to impose an excise tax on the purchases of all guns and use the revenue to fund sustainable community-based violence prevention programs, especially in hard to reach communities to drive down crime.