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Gun Violence Prevention Advocates Call For Supreme Court Reforms



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Gun violence prevention advocates and survivors from the Newtown Action Alliance held a press conference last week in Newtown, calling for reforms to the Supreme Court as part of a national bus tour about the need for judicial reform organized by justmajority.org.

The event was the second stop in a nationwide bus tour, whose slogan is “Democracy demands a fair and ethical court.”

The campaign, first reported in The New York Times, is sponsored by a set of leading gun violence prevention organizations including Newtown Action Alliance, This Is Our Lane, Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence, March for Our Lives, and Guns Down America. They are joined by leading reproductive rights, civil rights, racial justice, and court reform groups.

“Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children in this country. We are a nation on edge,” said Abbey Clements, executive director and co-founder, Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence and a Sandy Hook School tragedy survivor. “We need to restore balance and legitimacy to the Supreme Court. We need to ensure important decisions, such as those to do with public safety, are judged with fairness.”

Clements described her experience as a second grade teacher during the tragedy, noting how “so much has changed” for them and that she shares a unique bond with the children that were there with her, that includes “survivor’s guilt and outrage.”

“I’ve been a teacher for 30 years,” Clements said. “Now, teachers do everything for the kids, including putting their lives on the line, and being willing to die by a bullet in a classroom as a human shield.”

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Bruen case, courts have struck down a series of gun violence prevention measures across the country, including restrictions on gun ownership for people under domestic violence restraining orders.

Clements said the Bruen ruling is “bad for public safety” and “puts state laws at risk.”

“We need to restore balance and legitimacy to the courts so they are judged with fairness,” said Clements.

Po Murray, the chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance, said that “12/14 was our 9/11” and that it “still hurts to this day.”

“Guns have shattered too many lives,” We knew if a mass shooting could happen in Sandy Hook, it can happen anywhere, and it has, again and again.”

Murray noted that Connecticut’s gun laws are among those that are at risk.

“Last year the Supreme Court justices, who are owned by the gun lobby, overturned the New York gun permitting law that was in place for over a hundred years. Their deadly decision in the Bruen case is now being used by conservative activist judges in lower courts to overturn common sense gun laws,” said Po Murray, chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance. “We demand that Congress expand the Supreme Court to protect our children and our families more than guns. The Supreme Court is incapable of ensuring justice for the most vulnerable in our nation.”

Three Newtown High School seniors, who were all Sandy Hook students and survivors of the tragedy also spoke. All three pointed towards the connection between the Supreme Court and the lack of progress on gun control since Sandy Hook.

Cyrena Arokium noted that the leading cause of death for children is gun violence in the US and is “woven into the fabric of our lives.”

“The Supreme Court has taken away rights we’ve relied on for decades and it’s giving guns more rights than kids,” said Arokium. “If reforming and expanding the Supreme Court will help us build a better future for the next generations, I am in full support.”

Nicole Melchionno said she has been fighting for change since that day, and she is “sick and tired of people doing nothing with blood on their hands.”

“The Supreme Court is rewriting the Constitution to provide guns with more rights than children. Gun violence is the number one killer of children in America,” said Melchionno, a high school senior. “The NRA spent millions of dollars helping to install this Supreme Court majority and they are delivering with rulings that make us all less safe.”

Ashley Hubner said it was “insane to think that instead of making things safer, policy makers have decided to let children fend for themselves.”

“I have witnessed more school shootings than I ever even imagined possible. The majority of the Supreme Court’s justices have been on the court for more than ten years. They have had so much time to make things better, to make things right, and they have failed,” said Hubner, a high school senior. “We need to reform the Supreme Court.”

Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

Newtown Action Alliance Chairwoman Po Murray (left); Nicole Melchionno, Newtown High School senior and Sandy Hook tragedy survivor; Abby Clements, executive director and co-founder of Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence and a Sandy Hook School tragedy survivor; Cyrena Arokium, Newtown High School senior and Sandy Hook tragedy survivor; and Ashley Hubner, Newtown High School senior and Sandy Hook tragedy survivor.
Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. phydeaux says:

    The Supreme Court exists to uphold the Constitution. To ensure laws passed by the people’s representatives are within the framework of the Constitution. It is not there as a court to assuage the whims of a minority of the population. The “loud people” get a decision they don’t like, the solution is to tear it down. Unlike abortion, the 2nd Amendment is right there in ink on parchment.

  2. qstorm says:

    Don’t like the results always blame the game and lobby to change the rules using any means necessary including misinformation and outright lies. The Supreme Court is responsible for interpreting the Constitutionality of laws not to make anything better. That is the job of the Legislative.

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