By Edith Honan and Dan Burns
NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT - Relatives and neighbors of children killed in last month’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, are joining forces in an initiative to help curb gun violence in America.
“On Friday, December 14th, I put two children on the bus and only one came home. I pray that no mother, father, grandparent or caregiver of children ever have to go through this pain,” said Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose six-year-old daughter Ana Marquez-Greene was killed in the shooting.
One month after the shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead, the group called Sandy Hook Promise vowed at a press conference to transform public outrage over the shootings into action to “make our communities and our nation a safer, better place.”
Named for Sandy Hook Elementary School where the shootings took place, the group pledged to hold debates on wide-ranging safety issues and come up with a plan of action.
“There is no quick-fix single action but instead a multitude of interlinked actions that are needed,” said Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was also killed.
The killings plunged the rural New England town of 27,000 into grief along with much of the country and prompted President Barack Obama to form a task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden to find ways to curb gun violence.
Biden is due to submit recommendations as early as Tuesday. He has said that he will recommend universal background checks for gun buyers and limits on the ammunition capacity of magazines. Gun rights groups said on Sunday that these restrictions would fail in Congress.
The elementary school, about 70 miles northeast of New York City, remains closed to everyone but police who are still investigating the attack. Its students, more than 400 children in kindergarten through fourth grade, are attending school in the neighboring town of Monroe.
Authorities have not offered a motive for the attack. The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother before driving to the school and shot himself dead after the rampage.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg)