Letter: Herbst politicized Sandy Hook

To the Editor:

Recently, First Selectman Timothy Herbst wrote a opinion piece criticizing State Senator Anthony Musto regarding his vote on prohibiting the public from access to certain images and 911 tapes related to the Newtown tragedy. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Herbst resorted to politicizing the Newtown shootings, and decided to level such a scathing personal attack against state Sen. Musto.

How do we know the attack is political in nature? Because Mr. Herbst is quick to attack Sen. Musto, who is a Democrat and potential future political opponent. However, the first selectman stood by silently when two fellow Republicans, state Representatives Rutigliano and Miller, voted against the historic gun law recently passed by the Connecticut legislature. The Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety requires background checks for all gun sales in Connecticut, limits the sale of magazines with more than 10 rounds, and expands Connecticut’s assault weapons ban. This bill passed in the State House by a margin of 105-44 and by 26-10 in the State Senate, but two of three of Trumbull’s Republican state Representatives were amongst the few that voted against it (Rep. Tony Hwang, to his credit, voted for it). And Herbst said nothing. Ninety-two percent of Americans support universal background checks for gun sales, but not State Reps. Rutigliano and Miller. They voted against it. And not a word from our first selectman. He didn't remind us that Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra supports more background checks, an assault weapons ban, and a limit on high capacity magazines, which were all contained in this legislation.

Perhaps Mr. Herbst’s own view on this is skewed by the fact that, according to a front page article in the Trumbull Times, the First Selectman obtained a permit to carry a firearm last year.

I urge Mr. Herbst to stop with the political attacks and do something to make Trumbull a safer place. Why can’t everyone, Mr. Herbst, Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters alike, all get behind an ordinance that would restrict firearms in Trumbull public buildings? How about in recreation areas, like at ball fields and swimming pools? In our schools? Why don’t we have a town ordinance or policy that speaks to this?

Instead of the endless partisan political attacks, I call upon First Selectman Herbst to put his energy to use in making Trumbull a safer place. I believe that a comprehensive ordinance that makes it clear when and where firearms are allowed would be supported by the vast majority of Trumbull residents. Will Mr. Herbst lead on the issue of gun violence and safety, or will he stand on the sidelines and speak up only when he believes it is politically expedient to attack one of this opponents?

Tom Kelly