WASHINGTON – Nearly 30 people have been killed at schools in the United States since the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., according to new data released by two gun control groups.
Two Democratic lawmakers and members of Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns called on Congress on Wednesday to act on comprehensive gun legislation, in particular background checks on all people purchasing guns. At a Capitol Hill news conference, the advocacy groups released data about the 44 school shootings that have occurred in the nearly 14 months since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.
During that time, 28 of shootings happened at K-12 schools, and 16 took place at colleges and universities. Seventy-five percent of the incidents were associated with an assault or a homicide, according to the new data. The remaining cases involved suicides and incidents where no one was injured.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Congress’ current inaction on gun control shows “indifference” and is “at times complicit” with gun violence in the U.S. However, he said he thinks Congress will act eventually.
“I know it will change because Congress can’t stay this far out of step with the American public for too long before democracy corrects that imbalance,” he said.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., said she supported the groups’ calls for comprehensive background checks on individuals purchasing guns. “Anyone that’s afraid of a background check, well to be very honest with you, they probably shouldn’t own a gun,” she said.
The Brady Law, which was passed in 1993, requires all licensed gun dealers to run background checks before selling a gun to an individual. The Senate attempted to address some of its loopholes last spring. The bipartisan Manchin-Toomey bill would have required background checks on individuals purchasing guns at guns shows or on the Internet. A Republican-sponsored bill that would have provided more funding for school safety measures and gun-crime persecutions was blocked by a Democratic-led filibuster at the same time.
The NRA did not return requests for comment on background check legislation Wednesday afternoon.
This Friday, Valentine’s Day, will mark the 14-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook mass shooting. Carlee Soto, a sister of Newtown victim, teacher Victoria Soto, spoke at the news conference and pledged to continue advocating for stricter gun laws in honor of her family’s loss.
“I cannot and will not stand and do nothing and let these families have to endure what my family has,” said the 21-year-old resident of Stratford, Conn. “I will stand up for my sister.”
Even though she is planning to retire after this year, McCarthy said she will never give up the fight against gun violence and urged those present at the news conference to do the same. In 1993, McCarthy’s husband was killed and her son was severely injured when a shooter opened fire on a Long Island commuter train.
“I am not retiring from the battle. I will never give up,” McCarthy said. “The battle goes on, and it is a tough battle.”