Jahana Hayes Earns Leadership Role on Gun Violence Prevention Task Force by Charles Yeganian

Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that the Task Force will have two new Vice Chairs and four new Whips for the 116th Congress. Thompson also released the full membership of the Task Force for the current Congress, including new members.
“After last year’s historic election and with our new majority ready to hold hearings and cast votes, I am honored to announce the leadership for the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in this 116th Congress. These members hail from across our country, bring a diverse skillset and have already shown dedication and conviction on this issue. They have what it takes to combat gun violence,” said Chairman Thompson. “Together, I know we can take the action the American people have been demanding.”

“Thank you to everyone for their consideration in selecting me to serve as Whip for the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force,” said Deputy Whip Hayes. “I am committed to working with my colleagues on common sense gun reform legislation that will keep our communities safer and protect the rights of responsible gun owners. It has been a generation since Congress passed any major legislation to address this growing concern and we owe it to our children to no longer remain silent on this issue.”

Will Haskell Submits Three Gun Regulatory Bills in Connecticut Senate by Charles Yeganian

"Ending gun violence wasn't just something I talked about on the campaign trail. With my first three bills, I'm working to make it a reality," said Haskell in a release. "The common theme in these bills is that they would each empower law enforcement officers to keep our communities safe."

"An Act Concerning Ghost Guns," LCO Number 1022, would ban guns without serial numbers and regulate those which are sold in a form requiring the purchaser to finish assembly or that are homemade.

"An Act Concerning the Presentation of a Carry Permit," LCO Number 1021, would require individuals who openly carry a firearm to show their gun permit to law enforcement officers if requested.

"An Act Concerning Limiting Multiple Handgun Purchases in a Thirty-Day Period," LCO Number 1024, would limit the number of firearms an individual can purchase to one per month.

LEAP Forward will be grading action on all three of these bills and scoring support.

Jahana Hayes On School Safety and Arming Teachers by Charles Yeganian

From Madeline Will, Education Week:

"I worked in a school with 1,300 young people. I would never want the responsibility of securing a firearm in a school with 1,300 teenagers or having to have a conversation that began, 'I thought I locked my desk,' or 'I don't know how they got the gun away from me.' My husband is a police officer. We have firearms in our house. If there's an active shooter in a school and police are deployed, it's a high-tense, high-pressure situation. To have almost no training and be expected to use a firearm in a high-pressure situation, I don't think I would want that responsibility. And then I think about, you know, my husband as a police officer or a first responder having to figure out if the person holding the gun is the shooter [or] is an educator. I just don't think that that's the direction that we need to move in.

Jahana Hayes to Join Gun Violence Task Force in House by Charles Yeganian

Hayes, who won the teacher-of-the-year award in 2016 for her work in Kennedy High School in her home town of Waterbury, upset the Democrats’ hand-picked candidate in the Democratic primary and went on to beat former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos in the general election last month.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., chair of the task force, suggested that Hayes’ inner-city Waterbury background gave her a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding easy availability of firearms.

“Jahana has seen first-hand the devastation gun violence has on a community,” Thompson said in a statement. “We have a chance to enact real change that will help keep our communities safe from gun violence and I am confident that her leadership and passion on this issue will only strengthen our ability to take action.”

Christine Cohen Agrees to Cosponsor "Ethan's Law" in Connecticut by Charles Yeganian

Sen.-elect Christine Cohen (Connecticut SD-12) signed on to a change in Connecticut law that would increase the culpability of adults whose handguns are improperly secured. The fight is being led by Kristen and Mike Song, the parents of Ethan Song, who accidentally shot and killed himself while at a friends’ house earlier this year. Ben Lambert in the New Haven Register:

They said the change, which they titled “Ethan’s Law,” would improve safety, and would have allowed Daniel Markle, father of the juvenile arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter Monday in Ethan’s death, to also be held accountable for the death of their son.

Kristin and Mike Song have sued Markle and his business, Markle Investigations, claiming that Markle had failed to “properly store, keep and/or secure a gun on the premises when he knew or should have known that minors might gain access to the gun” and that he permitted unaccompanied minors on the premises, according to the Songs’ complaint.

Cohen and state Rep. Sean Scanlon have agreed to co-sponsor the legislation.

Ethan was killed by a weapon Mr. Markle kept in a cardboard box inside a Tupperware container, but was not charged with a crime because of a loophole in Connecticut law that requires the gun to be loaded in order to justify a charge of criminally negligent storage. Ethan’s Law would close this loophole, and take the burden off the state to prove the gun was loaded when stored negligently.

The Songs hope that Ethan’s Law can be passed by the end of next year. LEAP Forward will be tracking and scoring action on the legislation once it is introduced.

Statements from LEAP Forward Candidates on the Squirrel Hill Synagogue Shooting by Charles Yeganian

It's a somber morning for our region. The news of losing members of our community in their sacred, safe space of worship has felt physically painful.

This campaign has allowed me to see the strength our region can have when we unite and support each other. Please reach out to your neighbors and friends, and check in with them this week.

All of us stand together against these acts of hate. May you find safety and solace in however you choose to worship or reflect today.

Tom Malinowski (NJ-07)


It is fundamental to our American identity that everyone, no matter their faith, race or place of birth, feel welcome among us and safe in expressing who they are. It is fundamental that when Neo-Nazis and other haters march, that we come together against them, and not treat the patriotic Americans who rise up in protest as their equals. It is fundamental that those who represent us do more than release the occasional statement to combat the tide of bigotry that’s been unleashed in our nation. It is past time to put country over party and oppose leaders who cater to extremism and then absolve themselves of responsibility for what they have done.

Today is also another sad reminder that no one in America should be armed with weapons of war like an AR-15. Police officers are the good guys with guns in our country, and they should never be outgunned by murderers with guns.

The Talmud teaches in Sanhedrin 4:5 that those who destroy one life destroy an entire world. At least eight worlds were destroyed today. Eight worlds too many. We must do better.

Megan Hunt (Nebraska LD-08)


We are a nation in perpetual grief, and we are a nation that needs to reckon with its future. All Americans can agree: gun violence must stop.

"Many sides" are not responsible for the violence, targeted hate, and tragic deaths on the rise in our country. The worst anti-Semitic massacre in American history took place today. We don’t need “both sides”ism. We need leaders to stand against the gun lobby and not only condemn, but take action against this rise in hateful, targeted violence.

I stand with victims and survivors, and against the gun lobby & NRA determining policy in Nebraska. 

Heather Edelson (Minnesota HD-49A):

My thoughts and prayers are with the families from Tree of Life Synagogue and the Pittsburgh community. I empathize so deeply with those directly impacted and feel sick, as a mom and a person of Jewish faith, because I know we can do more to prevent tragedies like this. Today's violent act brings forth so many issues. First, we need to ensure our political leaders are not eliciting hate. Second, this tragedy is further evidence we need to not only pass sensible gun legislation, but we need to improve mental health access. We need leaders who will not back down until we address these issues. It is up to each of us to speak up, speak out and vote.

Annie Hornish (Connecticut HD-07):

Once again, horrifying news of another gun massacre, seemingly a hate crime. And once again, by an angry white male.

We are long overdue for ACTION to address this public health crisis.

I am a gun owner whose father was an Enfield cop, and I will fight for common sense gun laws. My opponent, 25-yr career politician John Kissel works to protect the current NRA's reckless agenda, regardless of how nonsensical: he voted against banning bump stocks (HB 5542, 2018) and ghost guns (HB 5540, 2018), and even voted against the temporary confiscation of guns from those with restraining orders against them for domestic violence (HB 5054, 2016), putting women at great risk.

We need to fight the dystopic vision of Trump and his new brand of Republicans, who pander to the leadership at the NRA. The respectable GOP of old has proven itself impotent to slow the hate-filled, white-nationalist trajectory of their party. I will be a firewall to protect our Connecticut values