Sandy Hook parents call for a dialogue

In Newtown, Conn., parents of some of the children killed last month gathered to urge a national dialogue to prevent similar tragedies. Jimmy Greene holds a picture of daughter Ana as he sits with his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene, and Nicole Hockley (right). JESSICA HILL / AP
In Newtown, Conn., parents of some of the children killed last month gathered to urge a national dialogue to prevent similar tragedies. Jimmy Greene holds a picture of daughter Ana as he sits with his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene, and Nicole Hockley (right). JESSICA HILL / AP
Posted: January 16, 2013

NEWTOWN, Conn. - Parents of children slain in the Connecticut school massacre held photos of their sons and daughters, cried, hugged, and spoke in quavering voices as they called for a national dialogue to help prevent similar tragedies.

"I do not want to be someone sharing my experience and consoling another parent next time. I do not want there to be a next time," said Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was among 20 first graders and six adults killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Members of the new group Sandy Hook Promise spoke out as politicians from Maine to New Mexico marked the one month that has passed since the shooting with renewed demands for tighter gun control.

The Sandy Hook group says it wants open-minded discussions about a range of issues, including guns, mental health, and safety in schools and other public places. Several speakers said they did not believe there was a single solution.

"We want the Sandy Hook school shootings to be recalled as the turning point where we brought our community and communities across the nation together and set a real course for change," said group cofounder Tom Bittman.

While the Sandy Hook group did not offer specific remedies, mayors and governors in favor of tighter gun restrictions lobbied for a series of them Monday.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a prominent gun control advocate, addressed a summit on gun violence at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and argued for greater federal gun control, including background checks for all purchases and a crackdown on trafficking. "Every state in the union has citizens killed by guns coming from another state, and every state is powerless to stop the mayhem," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg is cochairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose members spoke out Monday in cities including Portland, Maine; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Santa Fe, N.M.

The gun control debate heated up after Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 and killed 26 people. He had killed his mother before driving to the school and committing suicide as police arrived.

President Obama is reviewing proposals from Vice President Biden, who is leading a task force on ways to reduce gun violence. Obama told reporters Monday that he is looking at actions he can take on his own amid fierce resistance from the National Rifle Association and wariness among lawmakers from both parties.

The NRA has resisted new gun control laws and has called for "a meaningful conversation" about school safety, mental-health, and marketing violence to children.

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