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Newtown families hope massacre transforms nation

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm •  Published: January 30, 2013

Another resident, Mike Collins, said reducing the number of cartridges creates a vulnerability for the shooter, who has to reload, and for the people trying to defend themselves.

"I don't want to be out-gunned in a situation that I cannot walk or run away from," he said.

In response to calls from gun enthusiasts who've urged lawmakers against infringing on their Second Amendment rights, Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe told the lawmakers "this sacrifice is necessary and certainly warranted." Kehoe spoke of the need to reduce easy access to weapons of mass murder.

Wednesday's public hearing was organized by the General Assembly's task force on gun violence prevention and children's safety. Lawmakers hope to vote on a package of new measures around the end of February.

More details of the shooting were revealed at the hearing.

Susie Ehrens spoke of how her daughter, Emma, escaped from Sandy Hook with a group of other first-graders when the shooter paused. Emma, she said, saw her friends and teacher slaughtered before she ran past lifeless bodies and a half a mile down the road.

"The fact that my daughter survived and others didn't haunts me. That a spot where they were standing at that moment decided their fate that day, when evil (that) could have been stopped walked into their classrooms," Ehrens said.

Mary Ann Jacob, a Sandy Hook teacher, recalled hearing "hundreds of hundreds of gunshots that seemed to last forever" and crawling across the floor with 18 children to hide from the shooter.

Some in the audience didn't testify but said they felt it was important to attend.

Trish Keil and her twin sister, Helen Malyszka, two music teachers in Sandy Hook who knew many of the slain children, said they believe the tragedy will lead to change and won't be forgotten. Both support more gun control measures.

"I think it happened in Newtown for a reason and I think there is going to be major change because Newtown will not stand by and let this go," Keil said. "This is just, it's too horrific. When it's starting to affect our children, something has to be done and it's going to change."