Task force public hearing packed

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) --  As you might imagine, security is very tight for the public hearings held by the task force created in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. In fact, Capitol Police are requiring everyone to go through metal detectors before they can get into the hearing room.

There was a winding line of folks waiting over an hour to get in.

Signs read: No Weapons Allowed.

Once inside, folks faced screening through two metal detectors, as well as hand held wands. Some call it an over reaction.

"Because it's a gun thing they are figuring it's a bunch of gun nuts out here," said Philip Mauriello, of Watertown.

During tense hearings like these anything can happen. Back in 1994 a gun activist cut off his own trigger finger to protest gun legislation being debated at the time.

"It's not just metal detectors, but very visible added security on every level," said a Capitol Officer.

"Considering the subject that the hearing is about today and the recent events, yeah I don't blame them," said Sora Garlasco, of Torrington.

Once inside the Legislative Office Building, there were more lines, waiting to sign up to speak in their own words.

Many like Kimberly Oryell with personal stories to tell of losing a loved one to gun violence.

"I would like to see loopholes closed allowing the criminals to get them or maybe the criminally insane to get them," said Oryell.

"Even when this violent act occurred to our family it wasn't about 'oh lets get rid of guns lets make gun control stronger,' it was more how did that person get a hold of that gun," said Garlasco.

These regular citizens jockeying with paid, professional lobbyists, some passing out stickers so everyone knows where you stand.

The State Police bringing in weapons, even an AR-15, the show and tell portion of their testimony.

Seating and time to speak is limited, but many were willing to wait, to have the chance to speak about what they want, in their own words.

"Basically I'm testifying because it's not so much the guns, it's the mental health," said Mauriello.

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