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US Gun Control Advocates Mark 6 Months Since School Shooting

 

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WASHINGTON – Six months have passed since the deadly elementary school shooting which made gun control a priority issue in the United States once again. Families of some of the victims are now going back to Washington to remind lawmakers that they are still waiting for actions to be taken.

The lobbying visit Tuesday and Wednesday is one of several observances planned to mark a half-year after the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 young children and six staff at a Connecticut school by a gunman with a legally purchased, high-powered rifle.

President Barack Obama proposals to toughen gun laws have mostly failed in congress, but the President’s allies are demanding that he do more. Obama has expressed his intention on doing everything in his power to stem gun violence even without Congress.

Obama issued 23 executive actions after the Connecticut shooting and hasn’t ruled out doing more. His aides say he isn’t planning to announce any new initiatives or hold a gun-related event this week but will likely acknowledge the six-month mark.

The Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank with close ties to the White House, is asking Obama to issue a dozen more executive actions they say are within his power to reduce gun crimes. The group has been pushing those measures in meetings with the White House, where Vice-President Joe Biden declared in an email to supporters Friday, “This fight is far from over.”

Nicole Hockley, who lost 6-year-old Dylan, said the fight for new laws, which the families also have taken to several states, has left them emotionally exhausted, but they won’t give up “no matter how long it takes.”

“It is very disappointing that six months have passed, and although we are making progress in individual states, we aren’t making progress on the federal level when it comes to background checks when an overwhelming number of Americans support it,” she said in a telephone interview.

But the National Rifle Association, which has successfully helped block any new guns laws, said it sees no further need for executive action. “The problem we have is lack of enforcement and lack of prosecution,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.

Democratic Senate aides said it was unlikely Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would force a new vote on the background-check legislation unless he had the 60 votes needed to win or, at the very least, had more votes than previously.

 
 
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