President Obama and his allies in the mainstream media have seized upon the six-month anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., shooting to try to steer the nation’s attention back to gun control.
Amid a flurry of scandals and revelations about Benghazi, illegal IRS targeting of tea-party groups, National Security Agency surveillance of American citizens and more, the former Obama reelection campaign, known now as Organizing for Action or BarackObama.com, blitzed the nation Friday with an email appeal reportedly from the daughter of Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung.
“Six months ago today, [my mom] was shot and killed in her school, along with five of her coworkers and 20 of her students,” the appeal states. “In the weeks and months after that horrible day, lawmakers from across the country told us, the families of the victims, that they’d take action to make our communities safer. What we found out is that, for some of our members of Congress, those were empty promises.”
She continues, “I’ve been doing everything I can to reach out to members of Congress. But my voice isn’t enough. Today, on the six-month anniversary of Newtown, every single person who cares about reducing gun violence in America needs to recommit to this fight.”
The email urges people to sign up on a “We’re not backing down” page urging Congress to pass new, firearm background check legislation.
In addition to the email, major newspapers like the Washington Post and Los Angeles times published editorials Thursday and Friday, arguing, for example, “Newtown demands the country take action on guns.”
USA Today, furthermore, reports President Obama met Thursday with relatives of the Sandy Hook victims to thank them for urging Congress to pass new gun laws.
And Reuters reports the siblings of slain Sandy Hook teacher Vicky Soto “stood with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other elected officials as the Nevada Democrat vowed to revive a background check bill.”
Since the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting, Soto’s older sister Jillian has reportedly been working closely with Newtown Action Alliance and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped found and largely funds.
“I think we still have quite a ways to go, but I feel like we are getting somewhere, we are continuing to have the discussion about gun control,” she told Reuters. “It’s just going to take some time.”
This isn’t the first time the Obama administration has used shooting victims to resurrect the issue. In March, shortly before a Senate vote on background checks, the president appeared at a White House news conference 21 mothers who have lost children to various shootings and reminded the nation of Newtown.
“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten,” Obama said at the press conference. “I haven’t forgotten those kids.”
On April 17, the U.S. Senate blocked the proposal to expand background checks for gun purchases, but a USA Today analysis found that 86 state gun laws have been passed since Dec. 14. Some states, including Connecticut, Colorado, New York and Maryland, have tightened access to guns, while others like Arkansas and Mississippi have actually eased some restrictions.
Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, told USA Today the states that clamped down on gun rights “got it wrong” in their effort to protect citizens from gun violence.
“The rest of the country is looking at this from a more pragmatic view,” he told the newspaper. “They’re looking at it from a standpoint as to what really works.”