By: Greg Ellison
NEWTOWN, Conn. — This Friday marks the six-month anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. A remembrance event was held in Newtown at Edmond Town Hall this morning.
Carlee and Jillian Soto, sisters of slain Newtown teacher Victoria Soto, asked the gathered mourners to observe a 26-second moment of silence to pay tribute to the 20 children and six adults murdered at Sandy Hook on Dec. 14.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns organized the event, which they hope will serve as a yet another call to action regarding gun control. Starting in 2006, the group of mayors has grown to include 950 mayors from 45 states. Those members include Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Boulder Mayor Matthew Applebaum, and 11 other Colorado mayors.
The bulk of the gathering will be consumed with reading the names of over 6,000 gun violence victims. The list of names could take 12 hours to recite and only includes those killed since the Newtown tragedy.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns recently launched a 100-day, 25-state bus tour aimed at drumming up support to expand background checks for gun buyers. The Senate failed to pass similar legislation this April, however Colorado did pass similar legislation earlier this year.
The congregation of mayors is also sponsoring events in 10 states asking lawmakers to widen background checks and imploring legislators in opposition of the bill to reconsider. The events will involve survivors of gun violence and gun owners. The 10 states include Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Families of the Newton victims were visiting Washington this week to lobby for legislation to address their concerns. Carlee and Jillian Soto have met personally with President Obama.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has requested donors to withhold support for Democratic senators opposing expanded background checks. On the other side of the debate, the National Rifle Association is targeting Sen. Joe Manchin (D- W.Va.), spending $100,000 on TV spots highlighting the legislation co-sponsored by Manchin to expand background checks.