Newtown families: We’ll keep fighting for gun lawBy MICHELE SALCEDO
The Associated Press | April 22,2013WASHINGTON — Disappointment. Disgust. Grossly unfair.
That’s how some families who lost loved ones in December’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school view the Senate’s defeat earlier this week of the most far-reaching gun control legislation in two decades, as they pledged to keep fighting for measures to prevent gun violence.
Neil Heslin, Erica Lafferty and Carlee Soto were among the Newtown, Conn., family members who spent a week on Capitol Hill describing how their loved ones died at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14. But their stories of horror and heroism were no match for a threat from the National Rifle Association to rate the vote, and concern from Republicans and a small band of rural-state Democrats.
Lafferty, whose mother, school principal Dawn Hochsprung, lunged unarmed at the gunman to stop him from firing the assault weapon, said she was “honestly disgusted that there were so many senators that are doing nothing about the fact that my mom was gunned down in her elementary school, along with five other educators and 20 6- and 7-year-old children.”
The Senate rejected on Wednesday a series of gun control bills that would have tightened background checks for buyers, banned assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and loosened restrictions on carrying concealed weapons across state lines, the last measure backed by the NRA.
Within hours of the votes, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords accused senators who opposed the new regulations of “cowardice” in a piece published in the New York Times’ op-ed page. Giffords was among 13 people wounded two years ago when a lone gunman opened fire as she met with constituents in a Tucson, Ariz., shopping mall, killing six others. She and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, had lobbied for the bills’ passage.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” moderator Bob Schieffer asked Heslin, Lafferty and Soto Sunday whether the words “cowardice” and “cowards” were appropriate to describe Wednesday’s vote.
“I do,” said Heslin, who’s 6-year-old son Neil Lewis died at Sandy Hook. “I feel they’re not standing up for what they should be.”
Carlee Soto, recounted her sister Victoria’s courage to try to save her students, Neil Lewis among them.
“My sister wasn’t a coward that day. My sister pushed the kids up against the wall, out of sight,” she said, adding, “She protected her kids. Why aren’t they protecting us?” referring to the senators who voted against the gun bills.
The families say the gun legislation would have strengthened laws already in effect rather than undercut the Second Amendment, which provides a constitutional right to bear arms.
“It’s beyond me how these congressmen cannot stand up and support something that would prevent — or help prevent — something like this from ever occurring again,” Heslin said.
“We aren’t going to go away. I know I’m not,” he added. “We’re not going to stop until there are changes that are made.”MORE IN Wire NewsWASHINGTON — Two days after reopening diplomatic relations with Cuba, President Barack Obama said... Full StoryMOSCOW — Russian prosecutors on Friday asked a court to sentence President Vladimir Putin’s chief... Full StoryWASHINGTON — The Army has finished its investigation into how and why Army Sgt. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Gas Systems puts Phase 2 on hold as the latest estimate for Phase 1 takes a 27 percent leap upward, to a total of $157 million; U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin quits for job with private firm; police cite man in pot bust.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Christmas bombing of North Vietnam ordered by President Richard Nixon, most lethal strikes of the war; in 1989, U.S. invades Panama to depose, arrest and charge Gen. Manuel Noriega with drug trafficking, racketeering.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Gov. Peter Shumlin announces demise of his single-payer health insurance initiative; convicted first-degree murderer Alan Prue sentenced to 50 years for killing teacher Melissa Jenkins; veterans chafed about park naming snub.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 497 BC, first Saturnalia festival celebrated in Rome, Scandinavians retain 'Yule Goat' as symbol of season, Krampus, evil side of holiday cheer, terrorizes children into better behavior, more advice from Christopher Hitchens.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 533 AD, Byzantine Emperor Justinian I gets the old empire back together again routing the Vandals from Carthage; in 1890, Lakota Chief Sitting Bull is killed at his home in South Dakota; in 1970, Soviets land probe on Venus.
- DUANE CARLETON: Rutland Herald Events Editor George Nostrand interviews musician Duane Carleton, whose new CD 'A GIRL LIKE THAT' drops Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, and will be celebrated that evening with a show at 9:30 p.m. at Killington's Pickle Barrel.