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Published Monday, January 28, 2013
The following is the full text of remarks delivered by Veronique Pozner at a Connecticut panel on gun control in Hartford.
My name is Vernoique Pozner, I am the mother of Noah Pozner. I speak today on his behalf. I want to tell you that last Friday, I dropped of my daughters, Sophia and Arielle, at the new Sandy Hook Elementary School, which has been relocated to Monroe.
The weather was frigid, as you all know. Parents were rushing their children in, school buses were lined up to unload their passengers and I kissed each of my girls goodbye in front of their respective classrooms. I then headed off to B’nai Israel Cemetery on Moose Hill Road to visit the grave of our son, Noah.
As fate would have it, Noah is buried only a five minute drive away from the new school where his older sister and twin sister now attend. I had decided to bring a teddy bear to Noah on this frigid Friday and I placed it on his little grave site.
Noah was our 6-year-old force of nature. He will never get to see the new school in Monroe, he lies forever motionless in the earth. He will never get to attend middle school or high school, kiss a girl, attend college, pick a career path, fall in love, marry, have children or travel the world.
Never will he feel the sunlight on his face, the companionship of a family who adores him, the taste of a good meal or to get to dig a hole all the way to China, as he strove to do every summer day at the beach.
Noah loved being alive, he took large hungry bites out of every day. His inquisitive mind was always seeking answers. Sometimes he was like a young philosopher. One day he asked me, ‘if God created the universe, then who created him?’
Another question he asked several times haunts me to this day. He used to ask, ‘If there are bad guys out there, why can’t they just wake up one day and decide to be good.’ I didn’t always have the answers that Noah was looking for. I’m fortunate enough to have four surviving children. My two youngest made it out of Sandy Hook Elementary School physically unscathed that day. Sophia, who’s in second grade, tells us that the number 14 will forever be unlucky for her, so much so that she hates the thought of turning that age some day. She also dislikes calenders as that is what she was working on when the — and I quote — ‘loud popping sounds that took Noah away started.’
Arielle, his twin, that she wishes he was next to her, huddling in the small bathroom, where her class hid, instead of being out in the open at the mercy of the fury being unleashed on the children and adults across the hallway. She tells me she’s scared that she’ll forget what her twin Noah sounded and looked like. She said to me the other night, ‘Mommy, if I forget what it was like to play with Noah, does it mean he’ll forget me too? I don’t want that to happen. When I’m happy, I want him to know it,’ she told me.
And then she added, ‘also when I’m sad, or mad.’ I reassured her that as her twin, he would forever be linked to her, no matter what.
Noah’s loss has led my husband and I to think about and discuss guns and their legislation more that we ever have before. As an outcome of these discussions, I would like to submit our views for your consideration.
It is our feeling that assault weapons should be comprehensively banned in the state of Connecticut. Weapons which are designed to inflict as much lethal damage as possible have no place in the hands of civilians and ought to be restricted to law enforcement and the military.
The equation is terrifyingly simple: Faster weapons equal more fatalities. There should be no grandfathering of such weapons once a ban is implemented. Possession of any assault weapon regardless of the date of purchase ought to be illegal.
Mandatory surrender of these newly illegal firearms with financial compensation as was done in Australia, ought to be given serious consideration. A comprehensive ban would prevent gun manufacturers from cleverly tweaking such weapons to conform to state laws. Limiting high-capacity magazines is also very important, but alone is not sufficient to effect any significant changes.
This action is necessary because as long as these kinds of weapons are able to be purchased by civilians, individuals will use them to kill innocent people.
In this case, the permit holder evidently was Nancy Lanza, who’s life ended at the hand of her own son Adam. However the very fact that an individual close to a permit holder can gain access to these types of weapons and use them as tools of mass carnage demonstrates that such weapons have no place in our society. Noah and the 25 other victims whose lives ended tragically that day were stripped of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is not about the right to bear arms, it is about the right to bear weapons with the capacity for mass destruction. Speed kills, as with motor vehicles.
Which brings me to our next point: Just as each motor vehicle is required to be registered whether bought from a dealer or from a private sale, all firearms without exception, should be registered. Everyone who drives a car has to be tested and licensed to ensure public safety. The same should be required of gun owners. In addition, motor vehicle owners are required to carry liability insurance on their vehicles. Again, the same should apply to gun owners. This would shift the onus of evaluating risks involved onto the private sector. The use of firearms results in the deaths of more than 30,000 Americans annually. There is no question they’re inherently and profoundly dangerous to our society.
Consequently owners should bear the risk and ultimate socio-economic costs. When a individual purchases a motor vehicle, there their insurance underwriters their risk, according to their age, driving record, type of vehicle, frequency and location of usage, and a multitude of other factors. For instance a driver with prior DUI convictions may not be insurable at all.
Similarly, one should be required by law to have a policy in place before applying in place to be required for a gun permit. Every potential seller will have to verify the policy is in place before making a transaction.
Additionally, just as each gallon of gasoline we consume is taxed in order to finance the maintenance of our transportation infrastructure, or each pack of cigarettes is taxed to fund tobacco-related health education and disease research, it seems reasonable to impose a substantial tax on ammunition to help pay for extra security needed in school s to protect our children and others from those who would threaten their safety.
The requirement of secure storage pf firearms in particularly in homes where minors reside and the imposition of serious civil and criminal liability for damage arising from insecure storage is another point i wish to make. the same penalty should apply for damages resulting from the loaning out of weapons, i.e. by law only the registered licensed permit holder of any given firearm should have access to and use of that firearm.
I would like to show you the last picture taken of our son Noah. It was taken the night before he was murdered, Thursday, Dec. 13, before our world was changed forever.
It shows him holding up a lit Hanukkah candle and staring and smiling into its flame. I will forever cherish this photograph. He looked so innocent and full of wonder. He was cheated of his full potential. I can now only dream of the man he would have become.
I also would like to show you a paper cut out of a turkey made this past Thanksgiving. Admittedly he was no Picasso. On each feather, he was asked to write something he was thankful for.
He wrote electricity, books, friends and family. But its the center feather that really draws me in. He wrote ‘the life I live.’
What happened in Sandy Hook on Dec. 14 2012 destroyed Noah’s life and the lives of so many others. We must change for the better to prevent the likelihood of a tragedy of this magnitude from ever shattered the lives of innocence and their families ever again.
We owe it to our children and their families. The time is now. Let the state of Connecticut become an agent for change with respect to gun safety. Our little man, and every other child and adult who died that day, deserve it.