On Anniversary of Sandy Hook Shooting, Maloney, gun violence prevention advocates, and local electeds call on Congress to prevent gun violence
NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Public Advocate Letitia James, Special Policy Advisor and Executive Assistant DA Chauncey Parker of the Manhattan DA’s Office, gun violence prevention activists, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Dan Quart, and Council Member Corey Johnson and Council Member Ben Kallos gathered at 26 Federal Plaza to call for Congressional action on gun violence in the United States and to share stories of loved ones lost to gun violence. Today is the third anniversary of the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Although it has been three years since the massacre, there has been no significant action taken to curb rampant gun violence throughout the United States.
Also in attendance was Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Leah Gunn Barrett, Founder of Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. Jackie Rowe-Adams, Marie Delus with Moms Demand Action, New York State Gun Violence Prevention Lead with Organizing for Action Monica Atiya, and New York State Democratic Vice Chair Trudy L. Mason.
“It seems that nearly every week, our country is forced to suffer through another horrific act of violence and bloodshed,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “My colleagues pay lip service to the victims, offering their ‘thoughts and prayers,’ but that is not enough. There hasn’t been a single calendar week since 2013 where there wasn’t a mass murder at the barrel of a gun. Three years ago today, 20 elementary school children and 6 teachers were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary. We do their memories a disservice allowing gun violence to continue. This Congress is cowed by the NRA, and is not acting to protect our citizens. Thirty-thousand Americans will die next year from gunshot wounds, and their blood will be on Congress’s hands.”
"Three years ago, all of our hearts were broken as we learned that 20 elementary school students and 6 staff members were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “For many of us, we thought it was the final straw to passing sensible gun control. Over 90,000 people have died from gun violence since then - over 1,000 of them in mass shootings. It is past time for sensible gun control, and together, we must act to put an end to this scourge of violence."
“Three years ago today, an armed gunman was able to commit a crime of unfathomable evil,” said District Attorney Cyrus Vance. “In spite of the passage of time, mass shootings like the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary continue to dominate our headlines, and every year, the number of friends and families who have lost loved ones to gun violence grows. Firm action is necessary to address critical deficiencies in national gun laws, and I thank our partners for joining together to take on this important issue. As co-chair of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, I’m encouraged by the commitment of lawmakers like Congresswoman Maloney to legislative solutions that address this urgent threat to the safety of our communities.”
"Three years ago our nation reacted in sadness and outrage at the senseless murder of 20 innocent children and their caretakers at Sandy Hook,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “And while we should be commemorating today as the moment we came together to pass gun control, instead we also mourn the 90,000 Americans who have lost their lives to gun violence since Sandy Hook and lament the political cowardice that has rendered our government helpless in the face of unceasing violence. We must ensure that a tragedy like Sandy Hook is never repeated and I commend Congresswoman Maloney for convening this conference and for her unyielding commitment to passing comprehensive gun control.”
“I'm saddened to recognize the anniversary of the devastating tragedy at Sandy Hook,” said Assembly Member Dan Quart. “All of us who were watching that day will never forget the horror of knowing how easy it was for 20 children and 6 teachers to be gunned down in cold blood. Nor can we forget the terror and trauma visited on an entire community, left to seek answers where there simply are none. What we must not forget, though, is that Sandy Hook is just one tragedy of many. There have been more than 350 mass shootings in the United States this year alone. Every day is the anniversary of a mass shooting. This cannot continue. We need sensible, national gun control laws and we need them now, before the next senseless tragedy.
"Enough is enough," said Council Member Corey Johnson. "On the third anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I stand with Congresswoman Maloney in demanding comprehensive gun control legislation. The tragedy is a powerful reminder that it is far too easy for deranged individuals to get their hands on deadly weapons. We must get tough on gun control to ensure that such heinous and cowardly acts are no longer commonplace in our country. I thank Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her leadership on this important issue."
"Since the Sandy Hook massacre three years ago today, an American child under the age of 12 has died from a gun every other day - that is 554 children,” said Leah Gunn Barrett. Over the same period, another 100,000 Americans have died from a gun. Gun violence is not a partisan issue. It's a public health crisis that should have been addressed by our elected leaders decades ago. The US is the only developed country that has utterly failed to address our gun infestation. There is hope. States like New York are showing the way forward. Our strong gun laws have resulted in New York having the third lowest gun death rate nationally. We appeal to all Americans to judge their elected leaders on whether they are taking steps to stop the carnage caused by guns. If they continue to fail us, we must remove them from office."
"At times like these, we find it obvious that guns are the problem. At times like these, others find it equally obvious that guns are the solution,” said Monica Atiya. “In order to make progress, we cannot continue to demonize either side."
“When I lost my nephew it was deeply devastating, but once he was buried, I thought I had gotten past his death. Then when Newtown happened it woke me up," said Marie Delus with Moms Demand Action. Marie supports common-sense gun reform, including background checks on all gun sales.
“Having met Sandy Hook families when I was with Peter Yarrow at the Concert for Newtown, my only hope is that soon we will be able to truly fulfill the Sandy Hook Promise that affirmed their and our determination that those horrible events serve as a catalyst for true change,” said Trudy L. Mason. “Unfortunately, the passage of necessary legislation combatting gun violence has still not occurred. So today we must all renew our commitment to the Sandy Hook Promise.”
“Gun violence remains an epidemic in our City and across the nation,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. “I’ve introduced legislation to reduce the number of guns in circulation and better track lost and stolen firearms. However, whether it is my bill or other sensible steps, Congress must act. Further delay is unconscionable.”
"Three years have passed since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook -- three years in which we’ve seen hundreds more senseless, preventable mass shootings, not to mention countless other deaths caused by gun violence,” said State Senator Liz Krueger. “Our failure as a country to take serious action to regulate responsible gun ownership is not just a national embarrassment, it is an abdication of our moral responsibility. We need common sense gun laws now."
"We stand with Congresswoman Maloney and colleagues in strongest support of ending once and for all the politics of delay of sensible gun control at the national level,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. “Delay of passage has only meant death to innocent people. As we continue to mourn the slain students and teachers of Sandy Hook and all Americans who are victims of this blight on our society, we must renew our collective efforts to obtain these needed reforms."
"It is to our shame that three years after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, gun violence continues to rip apart communities across this country," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "Enacting smart and effective regulation must be a top priority for every lawmaker, and I applaud Congresswoman Maloney for her strong, consistent leadership on this issue."
"Three years after the massacre at Sandy Hook, we have still made no progress on gun control legislation,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “In fact, countless shootings occur every day throughout the nation and there have been over 350 mass shootings this year. It is clear that gun violence is a public health issue that has reached epic proportions. We must act on this epidemic by enacting common sense laws. I join Congress Member Maloney in her call to action and commend her for her leadership on this important issue."
Congresswoman Maloney is a longtime gun-control advocate who has sponsored numerous gun safety measures and is currently lead sponsor of five gun violence prevention bills in Congress:
1. H.R. 2380: The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2015
2. H.R. 2612: To authorize $10 million annually to fund gun violence public health research
3. H.R. 2613: Handgun Trigger Safety Act of 2015
4. H.R. 2546: Firearm Risk Protection Act of 2015
5. H.R. 3455: Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2015
The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act would boost penalties for straw purchasers and give prosecutors tools to go after trafficking rings that bring illegal guns to our cities. The Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act would provide funding to research gun violence as a public health issue. The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act would subject all gun sales at gun shows to background checks. The Firearm Risk Protection Act would require liability insurance coverage for gun owners. The Handgun Trigger Safety Act would improve gun safety by ensuring that only authorized users would be able to operate handguns utilizing personalization (or “smart gun”) technology.