The managing directors of Sandy Hook Promise reject the narrative that nothing has changed since December 14, 2012.
They say the latest massacre in Orlando is a reminder more people need to mobilize against gun violence.
“I understand what they are going through today and unfortunately understand the road ahead of them and it doesn’t get any easier,” Nicole Hockley, the managing director, said.
Both Hockley and Mark Barden know the pain the parents of the Orlando shooting victims are feeling.
“I’m so sorry because I’ve been in that position of waiting to her if my little Daniel is alive or not,” Barden said. “We are here for you, and we can commiserate, and you can cry on my shoulder any time.”
The shooter at the Pulse nightclub opened fire with an assault style rifle similar to the one the gunman used to murder Daniel Barden, Dylan Hockley, their 18 classmates and six educators at Sandy Hook.
It is “ludicrous” someone on the terrorist watch list can still legally purchase a gun, Hockley said.
Advocating for sensible gun safety laws is only part of the mission of Sandy Hook Promise.
“No one snaps,” Hockley said. “These are events that are planned months or in the case of our shooter over a year in advance.”
That is why they are focused on educating students, teachers and parents to be on the look out for warning signs.
“We’re training people to recognize those signs and signals and then to intervene and get that person the help they need before it turns into a tragedy like this,” Barden said.
As another community and the nation mourn for the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Barden said if you are not addressing the problem, you are part of it.
“When this news cycle ends, these broken shattered families are going to be on this lifelong journey now and we are living examples, they are living examples that this can happen to anyone,” he said.
The Newtown Congregational Church organized an interfaith vigil for Orlando Tuesday night at 7 p.m.