Families of the Newtown massacre victims gathered to discuss actions they are taking to push gun reform. PHOTO: Reuters
With the anniversary of the Newtown massacre approaching, families and friends of the Newtown victims are coming to Washington D.C. to demand that Congress take action on gun reform.
“We're building what we calling the ‘Newtown effect,’” said Monte Frank, a Newtown lawyer who is on the boards of two gun reform advocacy groups that were formed in response to the Newtown tragedy.
The families of the Newtown victims went through unimaginable pain, and many of them are resolved to try and prevent other people from having to go through what they did.
“I want it [Sandy Hook] to be seen as…the turning point in gun reform because that’s what it truly is,” said Carlos Soto, brother of Vicki Soto, a teacher that died in the Newtown massacre.
While the Newtown tragedy, in which Adam Lanza killed 26 people, 22 of them children, is the most stark and tragic event in the last year of gun violence, it’s hardly the only one. Slate estimates that 33,173 Americans have lost their lives to guns since Newtown. Of those, roughly a third have been reported in the news. Any way you slice it, that’s over 90 gun deaths a day in the United States.
While there certainly are people who would like outlaw guns entirely, that is not what the Newtown families are asking for. They want common sense measures like a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines. These features make it easy to shoot a lot of bullets very quickly. They are not especially useful in enhancing self-defense, unless you happen to find yourself in a zombie apocalypse. And how about background checks? Can we take a few minutes to make sure you aren’t a felon or a lunatic before handing you a deadly weapon?
For decades, the gun lobby has gotten what it wanted out of Washington, and it has been able to hold the line against the Newtown families. Votes against gun reform are going to get increasingly awkward for the gun lobby’s defenders. The Newtown families bring visibility to this issue wherever they go, and continuing to ignore them could cost some members of Congress their jobs.