Newtown Concerns About Gun Violence Resound On 'National Day of Action'
FARMINGTON - On the morning of June 29, US Representatives Elizabeth Esty, whose district includes Newtown, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy joined gun violence prevention advocates and public health experts at UConn Health Center for a National Day of Action press conference calling for action to prevent gun violence.NAA RespondsKeeping America FocusedThe Bee that she thinks National Day of Action activities will help keep all Americans focused on the issue, as well as Connecticut's leading role in establishing a number of common sense gun violence initiatives.Visit facebook.com/RepEsty to view video from the Farmington event. The first of two videos can be viewed here, and the second one here.ÃÂ
Later Wednesday afternoon, US Representative John B. Larson (D-CT) also held a Call to Action on Gun Violence Prevention at the Parker Memorial Community Center in the North End of Hartford.
At the Farmington gathering, federal and state officials were joined by local residents from the Newtown Action Alliance, clergy, local law enforcement officials, public health experts, and LGBT leaders.
Sandy Hook Elementary School educators Laura Feinstein and Abby Clements, and school library staffer Mary Ann Jacob, as well as Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed on 12/14, also attended.
The group came together to call on the House of Representatives to treat gun violence as an urgent public health crisis and hold a vote on legislation to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and other dangerous individuals.
The previous week, more than 175 Democrats held an unprecedented sit-in on the House of Representatives floor to demand a vote on commonsense gun violence prevention measures. House Democrats held the floor for nearly 26 hours - even after Republicans adjourned Congress.
Connecticut's Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and many of their Senate colleagues, visited the House floor throughout the day to express their support.
Sen Murphy, supported by Sen Blumenthal, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and others, previously had led a nearly 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor to call for immediate Senate action on effective background checks and legislation to keep guns out of the hands of known or suspected terrorists. Throughout the day, they were joined by nearly 40 of their Senate colleagues.
In Washington and unable to attend the Farmington or Hartford events, Sens Blumenthal and Murphy again joined members of the Connecticut Congressional Delegation in calling for movement on commonsense gun violence prevention.
"What we have seen over the last two weeks is real progress and the vicelike grip of the NRA beginning to crack," Sen Blumenthal said. "The American people are rising up - we saw it during the House sit-in and during the Senate filibuster. We are seeing in today, in communities across Connecticut, and in the demands for change from Americans across the country. We have heard these voices, and we will heed their call: we will not go away and we will not give up."
"In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in our nation's history, Americans have risen up like never before to make their calls for commonsense gun reforms heard," Sen Murphy said. "Between the Senate filibuster, the House-sit in, last week's vote on a bipartisan compromise, and today's Day of Action, the last two weeks have been a watershed moment for the anti-gun violence movement. I commend all of the House members taking part in today's Day of Action - they're continuing to build momentum and demanding the change that 90 percent of Americans want."
Ahead of the Farmington gathering, Newtown resident and Newtown Action Alliance (NAA) Chair Po Murray said that according to the website massshootingtracker.org, there have been more than 1,200 mass shooting incidents (four or more people shot) since the Sandy Hook tragedy.
"After Sandy Hook, we traveled to Washington, DC, numerous times to beg Congress to pass sensible gun laws to prevent these tragedies, but the handmaidens of the corporate gun lobby decided to block any and all gun safety proposals," Ms Murray said. "And now, a hateful gunman was able to easily purchase a weapon of war to kill 49 innocent Americans and injure 53 others in Orlando."
The NAA statement went on to say that Congressional moments of silence without meaningful action after devastating mass shootings are no longer an appropriate response.
"We applaud the Connecticut Delegation for leading the charge on filibustering on the Senate floor and sitting-in on the House floor to demand a vote on the terror gap and background check bills. More than 90 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun sales and over 70 percent of Americans support no guns for those on the No-Fly list."
The NAA joined others at the Farmington event who believe gun violence is a significant public health issue that can "no longer be ignored because Americans can be gunned down anywhere and everywhere."
"On this National Day of Action, we stand with Representatives Esty, DeLauro, Governor Malloy and our alliances to demand action from Congress," Ms Murray said. "We also implore all Americans to call 202-224-3121 to demand action from their Congressional representatives. If we, as Americans, fail to demand action from Congress, then we are just as culpable for the gun violence epidemic in our nation.
Mary Ann Jacob told
"Any attention we can shed on the subject will hopefully result in some kind of action," she said. "It's great to see that Connecticut, at least, is listening to 91 percent of the country supporting common sense background checks for people looking to purchase firearms."
Immediately following the Farmington activity, Sens Murphy and Blumenthal joined nearly two dozen of their Democratic colleagues in urging Senate leadership to remove from appropriations legislation any anti-gun violence prevention research riders, including a rider that is commonly known as the "Dickey amendment."
A 1996 Republican appropriations rider authored by former congressman Jay Dickey (R-AR) prohibits federal funds from being used to "advocate or promote" gun control. Many have misconstrued the rider as banning federal research into the causes of gun violence.
Mr Dickey has publicly stated that he now supports funding gun violence prevention research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Only the United States government is in a position to establish an integrated public-health research agenda to understand the causes of gun violence and identify the most effective strategies for prevention," the senators stated in the letter to Senate Leaders Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid. "As the Senate considers FY2017 appropriations bills, we urge you to remove this and any other anti-gun safety policy riders, and to support potentially life-saving funding for gun violence prevention research."