The Sherman Coalition for Sensible Firearm Laws was recently represented at a gun violence conference at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

Vice President Joe Biden and the parents of a student killed Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown were the featured speakers Feb. 21, presenting to government officials, gun-control advocates and members of law enforcement.

The conference -- by invitation only -- was organized by U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, D-5.

Vice President Biden's speech focused on President Barack Obama's gun-control proposals, which include mandated universal background checks, reinstating a ban on military-style assault weapons and limiting the size of ammunition magazines and cracking down on so-called "straw" purchases.

Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, State Police Capt. Dale Hourigan and the mayors of Bridgeport and Hartford joined other experts in the fields of mental health, law enforcement, and education, who were also on hand to speak about gun-violence issues and present viable solutions.

"Danbury and New Fairfield residents have joined forces with Sherman to establish a regional effort to pass safe, sensible gun laws

in Connecticut," said Nancy Whitfield, a co-chairwoman of the coalition.

"Our towns are all in the 24th District," she said, "and we want our legislators to know that we expect them to vote yes on the weapons/ammunition bills pending in Hartford."

Members of the Sherman Coalition for Sensible Firearm Laws encourage Sherman, New Fairfield and Danbury residents to sign their online petition at

The petition will be delivered to state Sen. Michael McLachlan and state Rep. Richard Smith, urging them to vote in support of the Connecticut Against Gun Violence-sponsored legislation.

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