Mark Barden Speaks About New Sandy Hook Initiative

By Jeff Saperstone
|  Thursday, Nov 14, 2013  |  Updated 10:42 PM EDT
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Its been 11 months since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and theres a renewed effort by some of the families who lost their kids that day

Its been 11 months since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and theres a renewed effort by some of the families who lost their kids that day

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It's been 11 months since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and there's a renewed effort by some of the families who lost their children that day.

Sandy Hook Promise, the grassroots group that was formed after the shooting, has begun a new initiative called Parent Together.

Through their website, sandyhookpromise.org and a new public service announcement, the group is renewing its efforts to prevent gun violence.

"We can re-set the conversation with what we have in common rather than what our differences are and that's how we can move this forward," said Mark Barden.

Barden is the father of Daniel Barden, one of the 20 students who was lost on December 14, 2012. He has vowed to make a difference in the wake of his son's death. Nearly a year later that day is still difficult for him to come to terms with.

"It just defies comprehension to this day and I don't think people are going to forget," said Barden.

The PSA features some big name television stars from Modern Family.

This past spring Barden and other family members traveled to Washington, D.C. to push for expanded background checks. The bill, which had bi-partisan support, ultimately failed.

The same group of parents was successful in pushing state lawmakers in Connecticut to pass tougher gun control laws, mental health and school safety legislation.

Barden said it's been a frustrating fight at the federal level.

"We're in the first few miles of a marathon," he said. "We're not in a sprint. We're in a long haul here. These things take time."

The families are re-setting the conversation hoping to reach parents directly. Their focus isn't just on gun safety. They are pushing for tougher mental health legislation as well as efforts to strengthen communities.

Also on this 11 month anniversary, the Bardens are also launching a foundation of their own, in honor of their son Daniel.

"Our little Daniel was just wired for empathy and compassion for all living creatures," said Barden. "We will reach as many people as we can with his message of positive kindness."

In one month Newtown will mark the awful day not with ceremonies but with quiet reflection. That's something Barden agrees with.

"I think it needs to be a day of solemn remembrance and not a lot of fanfare," he said.

To learn more about the Sandy Hook Promise and their new initiative you can head to their website.

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