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A Decade after Sandy Hook, Assault-Weapons Ban Demands Continue


Wednesday, December 14, 2022   

On the ten-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a local organization is still working to see a national assault-weapons ban.

Newtown Action Alliance, founded briefly after the Sandy Hook shooting, has been active in getting Connecticut's assault weapons ban passed.

The group has also spoken with congressional officials about a national ban.

David Stowe, co-founder and vice chairman of the alliance, describes where the U.S. is with assault weapons in the ten years since the shootings.

In his words, it's "insane" that people can be armed with weapons made for war.

"Where we are now, I would say, I think we wake up every day and more and more Americans are horrified by one, about the fact that people can own those weapons," said Stowe, "and two, that we actually have not done anything to stop them. There were some small, little pieces in the Safer Communities Act that passed this summer."

In the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, background checks were expanded for people under 21, and federal firearms restrictions were extended to include people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors against dating partners.

Stowe said he feels that, in the current lame-duck Congress, a ban would not make it through the filibuster process.

But he said he thinks there should at least be a vote - to demonstrate where individual lawmakers stand on an assault-weapons ban.

One priority for Stowe is to see a shift in the tone of the conversation about assault weapons. He said he feels people could do a better job of listening to one another when talking about gun safety regulations.

"You have to look at the root causes of gun violence, and there's a number of them," said Stowe. "One is the proliferation of guns in our country, and how easy it is to get guns - so we absolutely need to address that with legislative approach."

He added that having safe-storage laws and making sure people with mental illness don't have gun access would help as well. And he pointed out that mental-health services must have more funding in order to help more people.

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