Nov 16, 2013
06:48 AMThe Connecticut Story
Group Formed After Newtown Shooting Wants Gun Dialogue to Be More Civil
Melanie Stengel/New Haven Register
Mark Barden of Sandy Hook Promise meets with the New Haven Register editorial board Friday. Barden, advocacy director for the group, lost his son, Daniel, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown Dec. 14, 2012.
The families of the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook victims and others from Newtown are ready to take a stand against the bittnerness and partisanship that has stained the gun-control debate in the last year.
It’s time, they say, to come together and talk, from every point of view, and find a sensible way through to ending gun violence.
Members of Sandy Hook Promise met with the New Haven Register’s editorial board Friday to talk about their new initiative, Parent Together.
While they are not opposed to people owning guns and they respect the Second Amendment, Promise members would like the conversation to shift, almost radically, to one of understanding and genuine communication.
“When you sit across from somebody and say ‘I don’t want to take your gun,’ knowing my daughter was shot ... it means something,” said Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana Grace, was one of 26 pupils and staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School killed by Adam Lanza.
“Parent Together is really an opportunity to reframe the debate,” said Rob Cox, a co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise. “It’s not about politics; it’s not about partisan division.” Rather, it’s about “the love parents have for their children and the love children have for their parents.”
“I’d like to see us as a nation much more aware, more better informed and much more responsive, proactive rather than reactive,” said Marquez-Greene.
Cox pointed out that 31,000 Americans die from gun violence each year, and guns are not subject to the same consumer product safety requirements as lawn darts, for example. The issues need to be discussed in a reasonable way, not with rancor, he said. Promise was “always, from the outset, a group of parents frankly who felt they had to get together and ask these questions,” said Cox, who was flying in from London on Dec. 14.
“We have to frame it in a way that says it’s OK to have a gun ... but there have to be some regulations that go along with that,” said Mark Barden, whose son Daniel, 7, was another of the Sandy Hook victims. Daniel’s siblings, James, 13, and Natalie, 11, also want to be part of the solution, Barden said. “James also said, ‘I don’t want any other family to have to go through this,’” he said.
He said Daniel would walk over and sit with a child who was eating alone in the cafeteria. “He would have done a lot of good work in this world, so we’re going to try to do that for him.”
As the anniversary approaches, Promise members would like it to be marked as “a solemn time of remembrance,” Barden said.