Thu, Jun

10 Years After Sandy Hook Massacre, Progressives in Congress Lead Calls for Gun Control


TRAGEDY RECALLED - U.S. progressives marked the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre by renewing calls for gun control, with one reform advocate telling families of those slain in the nation's worst primary school shooting that "it is our national shame that we failed to take meaningful steps to protect your children."

"Instead of a moral reckoning, this country has seen an increase in mass shootings. The whole damn system is guilty as hell."

On December 14, 2012, a mentally ill 20-year-old armed with an assault-style semi-automatic rifle shot and killed his mother before murdering 20 first graders and six faculty members at the Newtown, Connecticut school before taking his own life as first responders arrived on the gruesome scene.

While gun control advocates pressed for reforms in the wake of the Sandy Hook slaughter, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre, who still holds the position today, asserted that more guns in the form of armed guards at schools were part of the solution to a problem which he blamed on violent movies, video games, and music videos.

Since Sandy Hook, Democratic U.S. lawmakers have proposed dozens of gun control laws, with the vast majority failing to pass.

"Ten years ago today, 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School were shot and killed. We must never forget that horrific day," tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). "It's time for Congress to pass the commonsense gun safety reforms the American people are demanding."

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) tweeted that "it's been 10 years since Sandy Hook. Ten years and Republicans still offer no solution beyond thoughts and prayers. Our children deserve action."

Former Democratic Ohio congressional candidate Nina Turner wrote on Twitter: "It's been 10 years since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary occurred and instead of a moral reckoning, this country has seen an increase in mass shootings. The whole damn system is guilty as hell."

Since Sandy Hook, there have been 189 deadly school shootings in the United States, resulting in 279 deaths, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database. The advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise says that 12 children are killed and 32 more wounded by gunfire each day in the United States.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures show that more than 250,000 people have been shot dead in the United States between 2016 and 2021. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 42,199 U.S. gun deaths in 2022 alone, including 628 mass shootings.

"Today, gun violence has become the leading cause of death for children in the U.S.," noted the Institute for Policy Studies in a Twitter thread.

IPS continued:

Even within the U.S., gun deaths are highest in the states with the fewest gun restrictions... The same NRA lobbyists who profit off pushing more guns into the populace tell us that the answer to school shootings is to militarize schools. But we've seen that adding police to schools harms students—and *still fails* to prevent shootings.

The pro-gun lobby, one of the largest in the country, ignores these facts and spreads distortions by vastly outspending all of the gun safety orgs, while Congress looks on. Nearly $3 billion(!) is being spent annually on school security across the country without proven evidence that it promotes safety. Instead, we should invest in what we *know* promotes safety: Social and emotional support for students. And commonsense regulations on guns.

"From Sandy Hook to Parkland to Uvalde to Club Q, mass shootings are heartbreaking, too common, and entirely avoidable," IPS added. "Before we see any more tragedies, Congress must listen to the people and pass bold gun control now."

President Joe Biden—who earlier this year signed minor gun safety legislation in the wake of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas—marked the Sandy Hook anniversary by declaring a day of remembrance.

"We should have societal guilt for taking too long to deal with this problem," the president said in a statement. "We have a moral obligation to pass and enforce laws that can prevent these things from happening again."

At the time of the Sandy Hook shooting, Biden was vice president under then-President Barack Obama.

Biden added Wednesday that he is "determined" to sign a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, an unlikely outcome given Republicans will control the House of Representatives beginning next month.

"Enough is enough. Our obligation is clear," the president said. "We must eliminate these weapons that have no purpose other than to kill people in large numbers."

(Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams where this article was first published.)