Newtown residents were among Americans from across the country braving chilly winter temperatures in Washington to gather on the National Mall and demand sensible gun legislation in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in the sleepy Connecticut town.
Gun control debates were an inevitable result of Newtown’s stunning loss, where 20 first-grade students and six educators were brutally gunned down by 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
In the wake of the mass murder, disagreement has been fierce among those who feel the events in Newtown were a line in the sand for gun control and others who feel the actions of one man should not dictate gun ownership terms for the many.
But the locals from Sandy Hook’s surrounding areas have been in part mobilized to affect change, traveling to the capital to speak out for mild changes to current laws — including universal background checks as well as a ban on military-style “assault weapons,” a term that has been the subject of much debate itself.
Of the 1,000 marchers today, 100 were from Newtown and indicate that they want the hurt experienced in their town to serve as a “tipping point” for sensible gun laws.
Molly Smith is not a Newtown resident, but she says she was mobilized to act by the events of last month. She explains:
“With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it’s as if I move on. And in this moment, I can’t move on. I can’t move on … I think it’s because it was children, babies. I was horrified by it.”
Stacy Blinn of nearby Stratford attended after the Sandy Hook incident, as her friend’s son Chase was killed in the massacre. Blinn says the effect on her friends as well as her own family was her “enough is enough” moment:
“I kind of flipped out … My husband just told my son that a bad guy came to the school and people died. He’s got a magic blanket now and that helps with the nightmares.”
Newtown parent Dave Ackert marched on Washington as well, describing the current state of affairs relating to guns to be a “crisis” and demanding action after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.
Yesterday, author Stephen King published a short essay titled Guns, arguing as a gun owner for change to current policy on guns.