NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Activists from the Connecticut town where 26 people were gunned down in a mass shooting at an elementary school in December headed to Washington on Tuesday to lobby again for gun control, a trip that took on new urgency in the wake of the massacre in the capital that killed 13, including the gunman.
The trip by about 50 members of the Newtown Action Alliance was planned to mark roughly nine months since the Dec. 14 rampage, in which 20 children and six educators were shot to death, and it now also quickly follows Monday’s killings at the Washington Navy Yard. The group will ask Congress to require background checks for gun buyers.
Members of the group focused their criticism on Congress, where an effort to enact new background checks fell short in the Senate in April.
“This is really what this is all about — our broken political system,” founder David Ackert told the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.
Carlos Soto, the brother of a teacher who was one of six educators killed in Newtown, criticized lawmakers for failing to impose tougher gun regulations since the shootings.
“It’s been nine months and there’s still no action on the federal level,” he told WFSB-TV. “We’re not gonna go away.”
Several parents of children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School lobbied Congress earlier this year. The activists now hope lawmakers may be motivated to act now because the killings at the Navy Yard were close to Capitol Hill.
“It definitely brings back terrible feelings, and we know what the families are going through,” Ackert said. “It exacerbates the reason we’re going, and we’re determined to get the politicians to stop looking the other way, now that it’s come to their doorstep.”