The Newtown families have a message for Congress: We’re not going away.
“Inaction is unacceptable,” said Jillian Soto, whose sister was murdered protecting her students in Newtown. “We will not forget what happened to us. We will continue to fight.”
One failed bill and nearly six months to the day since their loved ones were murdered in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., the families are back in Washington, D.C., meeting with legislators, hosting rallies, and lobbying for background checks.
The families will meet with the president and vice president on Thursday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
“We want them to know as we approach the six-month anniversary,” he said at a Thursday afternoon press briefing. “We will never forget that terrible day.”
The Newtown Action Alliance organized the day-long awareness event.
“The fight is not over, it’s just beginning,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told the attendees. “I’m hard-pressed to find another issue where 90% of Americans think it’s the right thing to do.”
In April, a bipartisan bill that an overwhelming majority of Americans supported requiring background checks on gun sales failed in the Senate. Reid said there has been some progress in convincing senators to renew the push on gun reform. He added that he felt there had been progress with one or two on each side, but vowed not to allow a “watered down” bill pass.
“The writing is on the wall,” he declared. “Background checks will pass the United States Senate. The only question is when.”
The group began its event Thursday at nine in the morning, reading names of those lost since the Newtown shooting; they will continue in the afternoon and evening, reading the names of the nearly 5000 they say have perished to gun violence since the shooting.