On Monday, President Obama returned to Connecticut for the second time since the Newtown massacre. Speaking at the University of Hartford, he urged Congress to act on gun safety reform. This is his last ditch attempt to revive Democrats’ flagging efforts to pass stricter federal gun legislation, as some Republicans threaten to filibuster any proposal brought to the floor. “Look, we knew from the beginning of this debate that change wouldn’t be easy,” President Obama said at the University of Hartford. “There are good people on both sides of every issue. So if we’re going to move forward, we can’t just talk past one another.”
Prior to delivering his speech, President Obama met privately with families of the Newtown victims, some of whom will be traveling back with him on Air Force One to begin a week-long lobbying push in Washington. “These are parents who lost kids, in one case it’s a man who lost his wife. They are not activists. These people aren’t coming down with an agenda that they’ve been waiting to put in front of senators,” Rob Cox, who is co-founder of the Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization created by members of the Newtown community, said on Monday’s show. “These are Democrats and Republicans, independents. They’re gun owners, not gun owners. This is as representative as it gets of the people’s voice.”
Members of Sandy Hook Promise are hoping to persuade lawmakers who are on the fence to support stricter gun laws. “This isn’t about partisan politics, this isn’t about anti-guns. Everybody here respects the Second Amendment; many of us are gun owners,” Rob Cox said. “This about saying, hold on, we reached a moment where something happened, where we have to think about the safety of our children and our community.” Sandy Hook Promise wants background checks for all gun sales, to restrict access to magazines larger than 10 bullets, make firearm trafficking a federal crime, and improve enforcement of existing gun laws. They have public support on their side, with polls showing that 90% back expanded background checks on guns.