(CNN) – A prominent gun-control advocate says children are no safer today from gun violence than they were a year ago when a lone shooter killed 20 first graders at a Connecticut elementary school.
Mark Kelly, whose wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was severely wounded in a shooting in Arizona in 2011, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday the nation's conversation on gun control has stalled.
"Well, you know,” Kelly said ahead of the anniversary of the Newtown school massacre, “Saturday will be a year, and so far the national response to that horrific act and the situation we have in this country is basically to do nothing. So I would say that children are not safer in their schools.”
Kelly, who leads the anti-gun violence super PAC Americans for Responsible Solutions, said tightening gun laws “is a complex problem” that should be addressed.
“And Congress has yet to do that,” he said.
A CNN poll released earlier this month shows support for stricter gun laws fading since the Newtown tragedy jolted the nation. Some 49% were in favor, down 6 points from a CNN poll conducted a few weeks after the December 14 shooting that also killed six adults.
"Well, you know… Saturday will be a year and so far the national response to that horrific act. And the situation we have in this country is basically to do nothing. So I would say that children are not safer in their schools,’ he said.
But former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who now leads the National Rifle Association's school safety initiative, disagrees.
He told “The Situation Room” that the nation has made progress on gun safety.
"Virtually every state has looked at school safety legislation and has it introduced. You've had schools employ additional resources in terms of school resource officers and other protection for the children. They've increased technology as well so there is a safer response capability,” he said.
Newton prompted President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders to push for stronger federal background checks for gun purchases, but that proposal fell short in the Senate last April.
"But we certainly have learned that Congress said, despite a full court press by the President, that the answer is not gun control legislation," Hutchinson said.
But Kelly – a veteran, former astronaut and gun owner - said the NRA’s lobbying efforts kept gun-control legislation from advancing.
“I don't want to lay blame anywhere, but it is a reality that the gun lobby has an incredible amount of political influence with members of Congress in Washington. I mean, it's very clear that many members take their cues on this issue from the gun lobby," he said.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.