NEWTOWN, Conn. — As protests against gun violence flooded the Tri-State Area on Friday, lawmakers and advocates returned to Newtown, Connecticut.
On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 students and six educators were shot to death by a gunman at an elementary school there.
Two communities are linked by the sharing of unspeakable pain. School shootings took place a decade apart in Newtown and Uvalde, Texas, and now in both places, there are calls for action.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin spoke to Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund. His 7-year-old son, Daniel, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
He said after his son’s death, he made a promise to Daniel and to the community.
“When this happened, I did, I made a vow, I made a promise. I made a promise to do everything I can to prevent this from happening again,” Barden said.
The Sandy Hook Promise aims to protect children from violence, training 15 million school children across the country to recognize warning signs of someone who is isolated and in distress and get them help. Barden says the group’s efforts have prevented nine school shootings.
“I’m asking folks to take this rage and this hurt that you’re feeling right now in the wake of what happened in Uvalde and other mass shootings and don’t let that fade with the news cycle,” Barden told CBS2’s Elise Preston.
Watch Elise Preston’s report
The concerned residents of Newtown rallied on Friday. It’s a second gathering for many of them in two weeks after a May 26 interfaith service offered support for and solidarity with Uvalde.
Carlin asked Barden about the message he hopes gets through.
“The message that I would’ve said to Uvalde is that we’re here for you. Our hearts are broken with you and if there’s ever a time that I could comfort you in any way, I’m here for you,” he said. “There’s a strength in numbers and I know that the vast majority of Americans want to see us change this.”
On this National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont talked about expanded gun measures for his state.
“We just strengthened our Red Flag laws. I hope that’s an example to people,” he said.
But he says too little has changed nationwide.
“Our amazing delegation have been telling the story of Sandy Hook to Congress for ten agonizing years… with not much success,” Lamont said.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, talked about a gun legislation update in Congress, a revision he says needs enough GOP support to overcome a filibuster in the senate.
“We’ll know whether or not we have agreement on the essential framework and specifics of the Red Flag law, mental health, school safety and, very importantly, expansion of background checks. I think those are among the core components, and I’d like to see it also contain safe storage,” he said.
“Our elected leaders went through a lot of work to get that job so that they could protect their constituents and represent them. Well, they’re asking, they’re begging to please do this,” Barden said.
For Barden, being at Friday’s rally means reliving the trauma, and he admits that’s tough, but he made a promise and he’s keeping it.