All three of Wilton\u2019s legislators \u2014 Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143)\u00a0 and Rep. Tom O\u2019Dea (R-125) \u2014 voted in favor of the gun violence prevention legislation passed Wednesday by the Senate and early this morning, Thursday, by the House. The bill, which Gov. Dannell Malloy said he will sign today, has three components: Gun violence prevention; Mental health provisions; School security provisions. \u201cThis is not a perfect bill,\u201d Ms. Lavielle said. \u201cThere has been a lot of rhetoric on both ends of the spectrum ... it\u2019s not a solution to everything.\u201d The last time the state had a bill to ban high-capacity magazines was in 2011, according to Ms. Lavielle, and \u201call the testimony came from special interests and it was a mile long,\u201d she said. With this bill, she said, \u201cI and others heard from literally thousands of individuals and that was very valuable to me as a representative who is supposed to represent the people. They called, they came to see me. There were community meetings in all three towns. I heard from individuals. From what I hear about gun legislation, that\u2019s unusual.\u201d Ms. Lavielle represents parts of Wilton, Norwalk and Westport. Mr. O\u2019Dea also acknowledged the importance of public opinion. \u201cThe public outcry following the heartbreaking Sandy Hook massacre was overwhelming,\u201d he said. \u201cWhile I absolutely would have preferred more time to receive public input on the bill and obtain more information on what happened in Newtown, I believe the positives of the legislation outweigh the negatives. In an effort to improve the legislation, a number of us supported amendments but we were unsuccessful. As a member of the minority party with a 2 to 1 disadvantage in the legislature, we had two choices: sit back and allow the majority party to legislate our rights away; or, participate in the drafting process in an effort to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and enhance public safety. If you think we should have done the former, just look at the governor\u2019s bill to see what would have happened.\u201d Both he and Ms. Lavielle emphasized no one\u2019s guns or magazines will be confiscated. \u201cLet me be clear, this legislation does not criminalize any citizen who currently legally owns a semi-automatic firearm or large-capacity magazine. Gun owners will be permitted to keep their firearms as long as they follow the new reporting requirements,\u201d Mr. O\u2019Dea said. That was important to Ms. Lavielle, too. \u201cWe shouldn\u2019t take people\u2019s lawfully acquired property away,\u201d she said. She also said there was confusion when aspects of the bill were first reported. As an example, she heard from people who thought \u201cevery time they bought ammunition they\u2019d have to go through a background check. That\u2019s not true,\u201d she said. \u201cIf you\u2019ve been through a background check for a pistol, you can just go in and buy your ammunition.\u201d Anyone who does not own a gun \u2014 and thus has not gone through a prepurchase background check \u2014 will have to go through a quick check to buy ammunition. They will not have to do it again for another five years. School safety Both Ms. Lavielle and Ms. Boucher commented on the area of school safety and said right away, the issue of arming teachers or other school personnel was taken off the table. \u201cThat was out at the beginning,\u201d Ms. Lavielle said. \u201cI can\u2019t see that myself.\u201d \u201cEighty to 90% of all stakeholders opposed this action as well as law enforcement,\u201d Ms. Boucher said in her testimony on the floor. \u201cThe potential for collateral damage is too risky when the safety of children and staff is at stake. In fact, there was general consensus that schools security guards or armed SRO (school resource officer) should be post certified. Mental health Ms. Boucher offered extensive comments on the mental health provisions of the bill. \u201cThese proposals may be heralded as the toughest in the country, but for so many residents they do not get to the heart of the problem nor confront more directly the underlying cause of these horrific acts of violence, mental illness,\u201d she said. \u201cIt\u2019s time to stop being politically correct by avoiding those issues surrounding individuals with serious mental health problems. The governments\u2019 desire to cut costs by shutting down mental health institutions including one located in Newtown \u2014 Fairfield Hills puts public safety at risk. \u201cOne constituent recently recounted his own son\u2019s death at the hands of a Fairfield Hills patient. The constituent\u2019s son died when a released mentally deranged patient \u2014 who didn\u2019t receive oversight or the medication required for his condition \u2013\u2014 decided to burn down the apartment building their son was living in. \u201cThis complex gun bill doesn\u2019t address issues families endure when they deal with their own severely mentally ill children that put their family and the general public at risk.\u201d \u201cThe mental health portion of the bill does address insurance coverage. There is a glaring omission however. Hospital officials around Connecticut tell us their psychiatric units are filled with patients with severe mental health issues who need emergency placement in a mental health facility but they cannot find a bed. \u201cUntil government leaders and elected officials have the courage to admit there\u2019s a place for mental health institutions with professionals who can oversee treatment of those select few with severe mental illness problems and should invest in them, this issue will not be resolved in a manner that protects the public. We need to stop avoiding issues like involuntary commitment by creating studies. Our society should be just as passionate about this as they are on gun laws and demand that legislators take action on mental issues that may actually do more than gun regulations. \u201cFurthermore,\u201d she continued, \u201clegislators haven\u2019t even broached the subject of violence in the media including: television, movies and extremely violent video games that desensitize and even glamorize violence in the minds of young impressionable children.\u201d Provisions Some of the provisions of the bill are: Establishment of a statewide dangerous weapon offender registry under which individuals must register with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) if they have been convicted of any of more than 40 specific weapons offenses. Universal background checks for the sale of all firearms immediately, including pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns, whether sales are private, at a gun show or through a dealer. The current assault weapons ban is expanded to include more than 100 new specific weapons based on physical characteristics. Large capacity magazines \u2014 holding more than 10 rounds \u2014 are banned and those currently owned must be registered by Jan. 1, 2014 to remain legal. However, a legally owned large-capacity magazine may be loaded with more than 10 bullets in an individual\u2019s home. The school security provision of the bill establishes the School Safety Infrastructure Council which will develop safety standards for school building projects. Initial standards must be developed by Jan. 1, 2014. Towns may be reimbursed under a grant program for upgrades to school security infrastructure. Safety plan standards for schools will be developed by DESPP and the Department of Education by Jan. 1, 2014. Security and safety plans must be developed at each school. Safe school climate committees established by the bullying law must investigate instances of disturbing and threatening behavior reported to it. All colleges and universities must submit their security plan to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and they must create threat assessment teams. The bill creates a task force to conduct a comprehensive study of Connecticut\u2019s mental health system, with a special focus on the vulnerable 16-25 year old population. The bill establishes the ACCESS-MH program, modeled after the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project and similar programs in 26 other states. This program will provide training, support, and professional consultations for pediatricians to help them intervene with children who have mental health conditions. The bill also requires of commercial insurers that certain mental health and substance abuse services be considered \u201curgent care\u201d requests and shortens the review time for these requests from 72 to 24 hours.