The talk, which was held at Milford City Hall, lasted about an hour. It was the 49th community forum Malloy has held since he was elected governor.
"I don't hide, I am pretty much out there," Malloy told those who attended the forum. "I'm going to continue to have these meetings and these discussions."
Although only two speakers rose to directly address the issue, it was clear from the reaction of the crowd during their discussion with the governor that a large number of those in attendance were there to voice their criticism of the state's gun control laws.
Responding to the question of how he would better implement current gun laws — and work to draft up new legislation to help keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, Malloy responded by pointing to the state's reduced crime rate last year.
"Point of fact: we've had our lowest crime rate in the last 46 years, this past year," Malloy said.
He said he understands some may feel the state's current gun laws are restrictive.
"But the people of Connecticut decided they wanted a different level of protection," the governor said, referring to the stricter set of gun control laws passed by the Generally Assembly last year in response to the Newtown school shootings.
In addition, Malloy said to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those with mental illness, action also needs to be taken on the national level.
"It would be an awful a lot easier if the federal government would pass the universal background check," Malloy said, which resulted in numerous audible groans and sighs from several attendees in the back of the room. "I can't get on a plane without someone doing a background check on me, and yet I can get on the internet and buy a gun."
In regards to the registration requirement for what the state now categorizes as assault weapons and high capacity magazines — the deadline for which was Dec. 31 — Malloy said there was plenty of time last year for gun owners to meet that deadline.
"You had the option to register the weapons you had by Dec. 31," Malloy said. "If you did, you still own that weapon legally — and if you made a decision to not register that gun, you made that decision not me."
Malloy added that he will continue to seek ways to reduce gun violence, as well as the overall crime rate in the state.
"I'm trying to make people as safe as I can," Malloy added.
"We're making good progress," he said.
Common Core, the controversial standardized testing and teacher evaluation program meant to replace No Child Left Behind, was another issue of concern raised during the forum.
Malloy responded that 44 states, along with Connecticut, had signed on to the program. And that the problems, as he sees them, are not so much with the program itself, but with their roll out.
"I understand that there's a frustration with its implementation," he said, noting that this has been a frequent topic of discussion at previous public talks. "And I'm going to do my best to address that."
Some of the other issues raised during Wednesday's forum include:
- How can retirees afford to live and remain in Connecticut on a limited fixed income? Malloy said his administration is working with the private sector to build thousands of new affordable housing units throughout the state, as well as keeping a focus on ways to try to reduce the property tax burden on homeowners. "Property taxes are an issue. We're overly reliant on property taxes and I'd like to address that," he said.
- Allowing adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates. Malloy said this is an issue that's currently working it's way through the legislative process. He added that while he's sympathetic with those who want to access their certificates it's also important to be sensitive to parents who wish to protect their privacy in relation to the adoption process.
- What is the status of the Shoreline Resiliency Fund? Malloy said the fund, a low-interest loan program to help residents elevate their homes and flood-proof their businesses in areas prone to coastal flooding, continues to move forward. "Monies will be made available to individuals to raise their homes," the governor said.
- Raising the minimum wage as a regional effort. A speaker noted that he would be in favor of raising Connecticut's minimum wage, but it is difficult for his business to compete with other companies in neighboring states because of the lower minimum wages there. Malloy responded that he and other nearby governors are actually "trying to do it on a regional basis… I'm watching it and I'm hopeful we can move the states together."
Malloy acknowledged at the forum's conclusion that there were some issues raised during the talk that "we've been able to resolve and some things we haven't — and some we'll never agree on."
"But," he said, "I learn things every time we do one of these things."
The governor added that he and his administration will continue to "do the best we can" to keep the state moving forward.
"We are trying to do the right thing by the people of the state of Connecticut," he said.