Six Westonites are invited to conference on gun violence

From left, Westonites Melissa Koller, Dawn Egan, Barbara Reynolds, Gayle Weinstein, Nadine Kerns, and Christine Fulton attended a gun violence conference at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury last week.

From left, Westonites Melissa Koller, Dawn Egan, Barbara Reynolds, Gayle Weinstein, Nadine Kerns, and Christine Fulton attended a gun violence conference at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury last week.

Six Westonites were among the 200 or so community leaders invited to attend a conference on gun violence held last Thursday, Feb. 21, at Western Connecticut State University in nearby Danbury. The forum, organized by several members of the state’s congressional delegation, included speakers Gov. Dannel Malloy and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, with a keynote address by Vice President Joe Biden.

Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein attended the invitation-only conference, which was led by Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District).

Ms. Weinstein said Mr. Blumenthal headed a panel discussion on public safety, and Mr. Murphy moderated another on mental health and school safety. Panels included family members of victims of the Newtown school shooting in December, as well as law enforcement officials, mental health experts, and others.

Ms. Weinstein said for her, the highlight of the event was Vice President Biden’s speech. “He was terrific and very inspiring,” she said. “The compassion he showed to the families [of victims of the Newtown school shooting] and his willingness to stick to his convictions really gave me hope that something might actually happen in this country in regard to gun control.”

Other Westonites who attended the conference were DTC Chairman Barbara Reynolds, Board of Finance member Melissa Koller, Dawn Egan, Nadine Kerns, and Christine Fulton.

All of the women worked locally organizing the March for Change rally in Hartford on Valentine’s Day, marking the two-month anniversary of the Newtown shootings, and they continue to work closely with the Connecticut Coalition Against Gun Violence.

“I’m so proud that our little community has taken such an active, grassroots role” in addressing gun violence, Ms. Weinstein said. “It does my heart good.”

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