As heavy afternoon rush-period traffic whizzed by on March 14, a local couple stood in front of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) office building at 11 Mile Hill Road holding signs of protest.
A sign held by Andrew Morosky charged that NSSF, as a firearms industry lobby group, profited from the December 14 Sandy Hook School shooting tragedy.
Another sign held by his wife Katherine Morosky stated that in less than four minutes, a gunman using a semiautomatic military-style rifle shot and killed 20 children and six adults. The sign added that weapons of war are not needed in civilian society.
After spotting the protestors, the NSSF called town police to the scene. Three police responded, a lieutenant, a sergeant, and a patrol officer.
After the incident, police Lieutenant Christopher Vanghele said police asked the Moroskys to move away from the intersection of Queen Street and Mile Hill Road so as not to distract motorists there, potentially causing a motor vehicle accident.
Thus, the Moroskys moved westward on the turf alongside the Mile Hill Road curbline within that street’s right-of-way.
There was not much for police to do at the incident in that the protestors were not doing anything wrong, Lt Vanghele said.
Asked about the reasons for the protest, Ms Morosky said she wants to make the general public more aware of the NSSF’s presence in Newtown.
The NSSF is a trade association, or lobby group, for the national firearms industry. Its membership includes gun manufacturers, distributors, retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s clubs, and media outlets. It was founded in 1961.
The office building at 11 Mile Hill Road also holds the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI), which is an association of US firearms and ammunition manufacturers. It was founded in 1926.
Ms Morosky said that the weapons used by gunman Adam Lanza, 20, on December 14 “did great damage.”
Ms Morosky said that she and her husband have a 6-year-old daughter who was friends with some of the children who were killed in the incident.
“I feel it’s really important to take deep grief and do something that my conscience says is positive,” she said.
“I cry every single day,” Ms Morosky said.
The ideas being advanced by Sandy Hook Promise and the Newtown Action Alliance are “very important,” Ms Morosky said.
The two ad hoc groups formed after the December 14 shooting incident to deter such incidents from occurring again.
Mr Morosky said that he and his wife have many connections with the people who died on December 14.
“I just want people to think differently of guns,” he said.
“How big does your gun need to be?” he asked.
The “gun culture” amounts to nonsense, he added.
Mr Morosky said that he had served in the past as a Sunday school teacher for the deceased Charlotte Bacon and Ben Wheeler.
Of the protest, he said, “We want to get people thinking about guns and society and what’s reasonable.”
Asked for comment about the protest, NSSF Director of Public Affairs Mike Bazinet said this week, “We appreciate their First Amendment right to express their freedom of speech.”
He declined further comment.