Newtown Families Return to Washington, D.C. to Advocate for Gun Control

Sep 19, 2013

Po Murray speaks on behalf of the Newtown Action Alliance at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Credit Ana Radelat / The Connecticut Mirror

Newtown families and activists are in Washington again to try to prod lawmakers on gun control. A bill that would expand FBI background checks of gun buyers stalled in the Senate in April, and there has been no movement on gun control in Congress.

Carlos Soto’s sister Vicky died in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. He said even if it's hard to change minds in the Senate, he’ll continue to lobby lawmakers. "Most of the senators that we haven't met with," he said, "refuse to meet with us. They refuse because they know that their conscience will take over."

So gun control advocates are targeting the House, where 186 lawmakers have signed onto a background check bill. But only three of them are Republican, and GOP support will be needed to pass a bill.

That doesn’t faze Lauren Green of the Newtown Action Alliance. She says the number of gun control victims is growing, and the movement is much broader than Newtown. "We got a lot of different constituencies," Green said, "so they couldn't say, well, you know, you guys are from Newtown, and things are different in Connecticut. No. We're going to bring in your constituents from your district, and they're going to tell you the stories that have happened to them."

But most gun control advocates are resigned to the fact that Congress may not move on gun control anytime soon. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said, "We may need another election to intervene, in order to change the dynamics in the Senate and the House." 

The lobbying efforts come days after the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.