Conn. group launches anti-violence initiative

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 15, 2013 at 12:33 am •  Published: January 15, 2013
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The gun control debate heated up after 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 and killed 26 people before committing suicide as police arrived. He also killed his mother at their Newtown home before driving to the school and carrying out the massacre.

President Barack Obama is reviewing proposals from Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading a task force on ways to reduce gun violence. Obama told reporters Monday he is looking at actions he can take on his own to confront gun violence amid resistance from the National Rifle Association and wariness among lawmakers from both parties.

The NRA has fiercely opposed new gun control laws and has called for "a meaningful conversation" about school safety, mental health issues and marketing violence to children.

A number of governors were already moving ahead with proposals to toughen state laws.

In Delaware, Gov. Jack Markell on Monday proposed background checks for private gun sales and a ban on military-style weapons. A package of gun control proposals also included a ban on magazines holding more than five rounds for rifles and 10 rounds for handguns, and a ban on guns within 1,000 feet of schools.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, speaking at the same Baltimore summit as Bloomberg, said he will be advocating a broad array of proposals this legislative session, including a ban on military-style weapons, stricter licensing requirements, school safety and mental health concerns.

"This will be a comprehensive legislative package to prevent gun violence, and it addresses not only the guns but also mental health and school safety," O'Malley said.

Jeremy Richman, whose daughter Avielle was killed at Sandy Hook, said a deeper understanding of mental health issues is essential. He and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, started a foundation to explore issues such as risk factors and successful interventions.

Richman spoke at the same news conference as Hockley, who said she still finds herself reaching for her son Dylan's hand or expecting him to crawl into bed with her for a hug before school.

"It's so hard to believe he's gone," she said.

At Stratford, Conn., where Victoria Soto had lived, the town decided to rename HoneySpot Elementary School after her. Soto, 27, was a teacher at Sandy Hook when she died trying to shield her students from the gunman.

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Contributing were Associated Press writers Brian Witte in Baltimore; Randall Chase in Wilmington, Del.; Samantha Henry in Cranford, N.J.; and Michael Gormley and Michael Hill in Albany, N.Y.