Sandy Hook Promise discusses preventing another Newtown
NEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) -
One month after 20 children and six adults were killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a non-profit group,Sandy Hook Promise, has unveiled its plan to help prevent similar tragedies.
According to the Sandy Hook Promise website, the group said it wants to bring to the table serious solutions on how another mass shooting, such as the one at Sandy Hook, can possibly be prevented in the future.
"Doing nothing is no longer an option," said Tom Bittman, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise. "Children deserve to wake up in the morning unafraid to go to school. Parents deserve to know that when their kids head off to school that they are going to come home."
Parents continue to deal with the tragedy, but they said their spirit is still very much alive.
"I still find myself reaching for Dylan's hand when we walk through a parking lot or expect him to climb into bed for early-morning cuddles before going to school," said Nicole Hockley. "It's so hard to believe he's gone."
The family of victims and survivors, along with first responders, took the stage along with the group's co-founder on Monday morning. For some of the parents who lost their children, it was the first time that they had spoken publicly since the shooting.
"Parent is defined as a ‘point of origin,'" said David Wheeler, whose son Ben was among the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. "What I have recently come to realize is that I am not done being the best parent I can be for Ben. Not by a very long measure. If there is something in our society that clearly needs to be fixed or healed or resolved, that resolution needs a point of origin. It needs parents."
Several family members of the victims of the mass shooting took turn speaking about their lost children, and what they hope to accomplish by establishing Sandy Hook Promise.
The family of the youngest victim, Noah Pozner, is also suggesting some reforms, even reaching out to Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden is heading the task force on gun safety.
Pozner turned 6 years old just three weeks before the tragic shooting inside the school. Now his family is proposing some laws, and suggesting federal funding to improve school security.
In a letter to the White House, the family suggests a law that would require anyone with knowledge of an "imminent threat of physical harm or death" to notify law enforcement within 24 hours.
To read Gov. Dannel Malloy's letter to Vice President Joe Biden, click here.
The family is also proposing giving grants to schools so they can improve their security.
Their announcement comes just one day before Biden is expected to give his recommendations to President Barack Obama. The suggestions are expected to include a renewed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips along with background checks for all gun buyers.
Even in the wake of the shooting, the gun control debate continues to divide many.
"I think there are more rational, reasonable people who understand the difference between assault weapons and other types of guns you might have for hunting purposes," said protester Erica Sciara.
David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, said "I would say that the likelihood is that they're not going to get an assault weapons ban through the Congress."
Biden is offering to personally meet with any of the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook and White House officials said the families will have an opportunity to share their views before Obama makes any decisions.
Hockley said their "hearts are broken," but their "spirit is not."
"And though we continue to be filled with unbearable pain, we choose love, belief and hope instead of anger," she said. "This is a promise to do everything in our power not to be remembered as a town filled with grief and victims but to be the town where real change began."
Parents who lost loved ones in other shootings throughout the country were also present at the press conference Monday.
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A gunman opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, killing 27 – 18 of which are children – before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.More >>
Residents of Newtown, CT, are memorializing the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. A gunman opened fire at the school, killing 26 – including 20 children – before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.More >>