Members of a Newtown-based gun control group traveled to Washington on Tuesday to advocate for stricter firearm regulations, a day after a gunman murdered a dozen people a few miles from the Capitol building.
About 30 Newtown residents made the trip Tuesday with the Newtown Action Alliance. The group planned to lobby Congress and mark the passage of nine months since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, when a gunman murdered 20 first graders and six educators on Dec. 14.
They had not planned on arriving in the nation’s capital only hours after a gunman killed 12 people at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard on Monday. But that’s exactly what happened.
“I was getting ready to come down here and when I heard the news, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It brought me right back” to the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, said Monte Frank, a Newtown resident and member of the group.
Frank said it was tough to be so close to the scene of another mass shooting and feel horrible for the families of the victims.
“It’s another mass shooting, when somebody who should not have had access to guns . . . murdered innocent people who did nothing wrong except go to work that day,” he said.
Frank called the incident another example in a “parade of gun violence” impacting the country. He said he hoped members of Congress would now take “common sense” action curb the violence.
Newtown residents and families of the Sandy Hook victims lobbied Congress in April to pass a bill which would have expanded background check requirements for the purchase of guns. The bill was defeated in the U.S. Senate after it fell four votes short of the super majority it needed to pass.
“Every time there’s a shooting, I would hope the impact is not to run away from it but to really search for the right answer,” Frank said. “I hope they will finally put politics aside for a moment and put the safety of our children first.”
In a Tuesday interview on MSNBC, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he believed the shooting had an impact on lawmakers.
“A number of my colleagues were clearly shaken by the physical proximity and the senselessness and randomness of this violence,” he said. “. . . My hope is that this senseless killing will help us break through the gridlock that so obstructed us the last time we lost that vote in April.”
The group will join members of Congress and family members of recent shooting victims Wednesday at noon at the Capitol Visitors Center to call for passage of stricter gun regulations.