For the first time, Newtown, Conn., families have lent their voices to an ad, in which they urge the American public and lawmakers not to "let the memory of Newtown fade without doing something real" with regards to gun control legislation.
A Dec. 14 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton left 20 first-graders and six staff members dead at the hands of a single shooter, Adam Lanza, who later turned the gun on himself, according to police. It was the second deadliest school shooting in the country's history.
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, released the new ads Thursday featuring family members of the victims: Neil Heslin, Chris and Lynn McDonnell, Jillian Soto, Terri and Gilles Rousseau.
In the ad, the family members describe their final moments with their loved ones and encourage legislative action.
The ads will run in Connecticut markets, while a broader $12 million ad campaign is running in 13 states, targeting key members of Congress during the current recess.
The advertising campaign coincides with an ongoing public and congressional debate on how gun control measures can prevent future tragedies like Sandy Hook. Roughly 9 in 10 Americans support universal background checks, though a poll out this week shows a 10% drop in public support for stricter gun laws, although polls continue to show that roughly.
Bloomberg’s group is joining with "Organizing for Action," President Obama's post-election grassroots group, to host a “day of action” Thursday that will include more than 100 events where gun control supporters will be encouraged to contact their elected officials to put pressure on them to take action.
The president is also set to host an event at the White House Thursday morning in which he will stand with family members and law enforcement officials encouraging Congress to move forward on "measures to protect children from gun violence."
On Wednesday Vice President Joe Biden praised Bloomberg and his group for being “the engine that is generating so much, so much help on this issue,” and insisted that the White House is prepared to continue to push for reforms beyond the upcoming congressional votes on background checks and an assault weapons ban.