(CNN) - Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy choked up Wednesday when addressing the Newtown elementary school shooting that left 20 students dead, and bluntly rejected the notion of putting more guns in classrooms as protection.
"When it comes to preventing future acts of violence in our schools, let me say this: more guns are not the answer," he said in his state of the state address. "Freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher and security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom."
He received a hearty ovation from state legislators and guests in the room after both sentences.
The National Rifle Association has argued otherwise, calling for the deployment of an armed guard into every school as a line of defense.
Malloy, a first-term Democrat, has been an outspoken proponent of tighter gun control laws since the December 14 shooting in his state, which left seven adults, including six at the school, dead, along with the students. Authorities have said the gunman, who took his own life after the massacre, was carrying several weapons, including a semiautomatic .223-caliber rifle.
Malloy said on CNN's "State of The Union" on December 16, "One can only hope that we'll find a way to limit these weapons that really only have one purpose."
He appointed educators, mental health professionals, and law enforcement to a special commission and gave them a March 15 deadline for submitting their proposals. President Barack Obama has also tasked with a similar assignment a group led by Vice President Joe Biden.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Malloy appeared moved by the gravity of the tragedy.
"While it's only been a few short weeks on the calendar, we have all walked a very long and very dark road together," he said Wednesday. "What befell Newtown is not something we thought possible in any Connecticut's beautiful small town or our cities."
He choked up while recalling "the best of our state," including the teachers who sought to protect their students, the first responders, and the families who suffered losses.
"Let us do everything in our power to ensure that Connecticut never again suffers such a loss such as this - that we take real steps to make our kids and our communities safer," he said. "The more resources we can bring to bear on this issue, the better. Working together we can and will affect real change."