Sandy Hook families to ride AF-1 to DC, lobby Senate
April 8th, 2013
01:09 PM ET
10 years ago

Sandy Hook families to ride AF-1 to DC, lobby Senate

Washington (CNN) – Twelve family members of children killed at Sandy Hook elementary school flew to Washington with President Barack Obama on board Air Force One Monday following the president's speech in Connecticut.

They'll spend two days lobbying senators to pass gun safety legislation, after joining the president for the event in Hartford, during which the president pressed Congress to act in the wake of the Newtown killings.

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The group, members of Sandy Hook Promise, arrive in Washington with a letter signed by 120 extended family members of Sandy Hook victims. They will encourage both Democratic and Republican senators to support background checks for all gun purchases, a limit on high-capacity ammunition and stronger gun trafficking provisions, among other steps, while members of Congress continue to debate new gun control measures. The group is not taking a position on the assault weapons ban, legislation that already lacks enough support to pass through Congress.

Sandy Hook Promise was established days after the attack in Newtown to support the victims of the tragedy and advocate for gun safety laws, according to the group's spokesperson Lara Bergthold.

A Sandy Hook mother, Nicole Hockley, will introduce the president before his remarks Monday. Hockley's six-year-old son, Dylan, was killed in the December shooting and the stay-at-home mom has been working full-time since then advocating for new anti-violence laws.

President Obama spoke at the University of Hartford Monday evening after meeting with victims' families.

Monday's event is the latest event by the president to push Congress to pass legislation to address gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and first lady Michelle Obama are also expected to hold events on the same topic this week.

Filed under: Connecticut • Gun control • Gun rights • President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    I guess all the other children KILLED in this country by gun violence don't matter.

    April 8, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Donna

    Why doesn't Obama dig up the coffins of all the children and load them onto AF-1 as well? Why stop the exploitation of this tragedy with the parents? Honestly, this pathetic president knows no bounds and has not one iota of class or respect. Truly, truly pathetic the way this has been used for his political agenda.

    April 8, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Way to politicize a tragedy. Do you have no shame, Obama?

    April 8, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. ghostriter it using the tragedy for your own political gains if the victims agree and wish to participate? Or is it different when the NRA brought out one (singular) parent who supported their idea?

    I really wish Rush would tell us what we should think already.

    Signed.....Conservative poster

    April 8, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. 82nd ABN VET

    I have a heart full of sorrow for those that lost loved ones at Sandy Hook, but what will this act accomplish?

    I have a hard time seeing it swaying even one vote in the Senate or House. Those with voting powers have already made up thier mind. While 1 or 2 Dems will vote against anything, 1 or 2 moderate Repubs will vote for it. In the end, it will be a wash, with the legislation getting 55 votes (plus or minus 1), short of the 60 needed to pass.

    This is just grandstanding for the American people. The same happend when the President was standing in front of those kids asking for gun control legislation. But, in the end, we know where the votes will fall. It will basically be party line and that will be that.

    What really needs to be addressed is mental health. That and actually prosecuting and putting away gang members, thugs, drug dealers and those with violent outbursts.

    A gun is a gun. it is an inanimate object. It is neither inherently good or bad. It is the person whom is holding the gun that you must worry about. A gun will not fire on its own. A gun has no feelings. A gun is a cold, metal, heavy object. It can just as easily be used as a paper weight or a door stop.

    Until we address the mind set of potential gun owners and mitigate those that would do harm from obtaining them, things like Auroa and Newtown will continue to happen.

    April 8, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. TotallyCrazy

    When exploiting the dead for political gain fails the first time try again.

    April 8, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Gregory M. Newbold

    In the 1950`s, when her son was brutally killed by racists in the south, the Chicago mother of Emmitt Till allowed an "open casket photo" of her son`s disfigured body to be published in magazines. It helped shock the nation into action on civil rights.

    Can you imagine the impact the publication of the crime scene / autopsy photos would have? Will any of those families be able find the same courage that Mrs. Till did? If so, maybe Congress would be forced to move.

    April 8, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Locaber

    This seems like a gross misuse of Tax Payer funds and should be reimburst.

    April 8, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- TAKE BACK THE HOUSE

    This is the kind of pressure that needs to be applied to Congress. They must be reminded who they work for. You work for US, not the gun lobby.

    April 8, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Jc

    Enough!! At this point its blatant exploitation. I get it that they want stricter gun laws, but if you really stop and think about it, not one law that is being proposed would have stopped the Sandy Hook shooting, or even effected it. This whole thing has become about cameras, appearances, hearings, and getting on TV. Obama should be ashamed. There are much better ways to push your agenda. In fact, I would argue he's going about it the wrong way. The far right have been eating him for dinner for parading these families around.

    April 8, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Guest

    This is preposterous. The Obama admin and BO himself should be impeached for fraud, waste, and abuse – more commonly known as status quo in the federal government!

    April 8, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "A gun is a gun. it is an inanimate object. It is neither inherently good or bad."

    Oh please. Next up: conservatives yammering about the "inherent evils" of condoms and birth control devices.

    April 8, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "This seems like a gross misuse of Tax Payer funds and should be reimburst."

    What's to reimburse? It costs the same whether Obama flies back to DC alone or with some guests.

    April 8, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Ed1

    Obama is doing just what Hitler did when he used children with gun control except this is way out of line.

    Enfoorce the laws we have now on the books all the laws in the world will not stop the killings.

    I have said before more children are backed over every week (50) that guns have killed. Why don't we ban cars and trucks without back up cameras that would save more lives than more gun laws that are not enforced now.

    How about selling guns to the drug lords why haven't these people been put in jail they have killed Americans too sorry forgot they were Obama appointments.

    April 8, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Way to politicize a tragedy. Do you have no shame, Obama?"

    The NRA has done far more politicizing of it than he has...not to mention fundraising, membership drives, spending millions on advertising on national television and engaging in farcical "studies" that don't even come close to passing the giggle test, let alone scientific scrutiny.

    April 8, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    Maybe they should be shown the pics of these little 30, 40 and 50 pound children riddled by 10 or 12 bullets, cutting them in half or destroying their little faces !!!!!

    Maybe the next time it will be their child, or in their state or district. Something has to get thru to those cold-hearted republicans that worship their guns.

    April 8, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. ghostriter

    So I guess this is not using the victims for political gain:

    Mark Mattioli, whose six-year-old son, James, was killed in the December shooting, spoke during a NRA press conference on the pro-gun organization's new school safety proposals.

    "I wanted to take a minute and applaud ... the NRA for coming up and spending the time and resources on putting a program like this together," Mattioli said. "We send our children off to school. There are certain expectations and obviously in Sandy Hook, those expectations were not met."

    Mattioli continued, "If you look what took place in Sandy Hook, mental health is a huge component of that. We need to focus research attention, research. We need the kids to be safe."

    April 8, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Donna

    Gregory M. Newbold
    In the 1950`s, when her son was brutally killed by racists in the south, the Chicago mother of Emmitt Till allowed an "open casket photo" of her son`s disfigured body to be published in magazines. It helped shock the nation into action on civil rights.
    Can you imagine the impact the publication of the crime scene / autopsy photos would have? Will any of those families be able find the same courage that Mrs. Till did? If so, maybe Congress would be forced to move

    Yes, the ultimate exploitation. I'm sure that will be next if this horrendous exploitation fails.

    And we all know that the best legislation is legislation passed in the heat of moment, full of anger and emotion, devoid of any logic or reason to interfere. Especially when dealing with the Constitutional rights of every American citizen.

    April 8, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Exploitation? These parents WANT the opportunity to lobby congress and put pressure on them. There's no exploitation here. You want exploitation? Try looking at the NRA's attempt to turn this into an opportunity to open up a new market by demanding legislation that would require teachers to purchase guns and gun training, thereby creating hundreds of thousands of new gun sales. Right wing dittoheads whining about "exploiting" this tragedy need to get a life. 4 minutes, 154 rounds, 26 dead, 20 dismembered 6 year olds. Whining about "exploitation" is nothing more than gun nut cowards trying to shut down any national conversation about gun violence and what can be done to attenuate it. If you don't want to have the conversation at all, then shut up. It's that simple. Don't participate in it them. Don't like abortions, don't have one. Don't like gay marriage, don't get one. Don't like the gun violence debate, don't participate in it.

    April 8, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. ghostriter

    Ed1, we pretty much beat down most of your reasoning like months ago. If 50 kids were run over by cars, that would be 50 separate incidents. 50 kids can be shoot in 5 minutes. Are you really attempting to compare the two?

    Really.....Fast and Furious is so last term. We are still waiting for all that evidence Issa said he had. SO far, they turned up less evidence than what they had on OJ.

    April 8, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. The REAL Truth...

    Like the other side is above exploitation for political reasons?? Funny how quickly we forget 6,000 US Servicemen and women dead in Iraq and Afghanistan over non-existent WMD. Let's not mention the 100's of thousand DEAD civilians.
    On the issue of mental health and gun ownership.. who decides mental state?
    Many of us – including law abiding gun owners – fully believe that WLP and the NRA are completely INSANE! Does that mean we can add them to the list of folks who are banned from owning weapons ???

    April 8, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Ruth

    He keeps using children as props for HIS political gain at a time when these parents should be left alone ,and he is paying for this ? costs money to run that plane and I had someone die ,when do I get to ride in it?

    April 8, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. GI Joe


    How much was he paid to advertise for gun sales for NRA???? You gave a partial statement and a partial story.

    April 8, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. tp

    The people that need to be ashamed are the ones sitting on the sidelines doing nothing to prevent this type of massacre because it does not impact them directly. For those who care only for themselves, write your posts and expose your lack of morals. Viewing the parents on 60 Minutes last night was moving, but I found it sad that they have been beaten down already to remove the ban on the military styled assault weapons that would have saved their children's lives. Mental health needs to be improved with not doubt and hopefully federal funding in this area will not be cut by the conservatives in their efforts to balance the budget. There is no exploitation here. A caring President is giving a grieving community the opportunity to remind the nation of the tragedy and the need to take steps to try to prevent it from occurring again.

    The post about questioning whether the children killed in California don't matter is senseless. The gun control measures that are being proposed by your Senator will help children in every state. The approach here and now is that when 26 innocent children and teachers are killed at once, it does pull on the heartstrings a bit harder than when the gun violence causes one or two deaths at one time. Get the message and do something positive to try and prevent this from happening again.

    April 8, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. BCW

    The children who died in Sandy Hook and their parents deserve the justice and their voice should be heard in Washington DC. I disagree with the folks that Obama is exploiting the 20 dead children. POTUS has done the right thing to ensure the children and the teachers did not die in vein. We need better gun control and the victums deserve a vote in Capitol Hill.

    April 8, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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