60 Minutes: Sandy Hook Promise, Newtown Families & Gun Control Reform

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60 Minutes: 12/14 Sandy Hook

The date of 12/14 means something horrific and profound to the survivors and family members of victims at Sandy Hook. Scott Pelley shared a report on the Newtown Tragedy. The survivors have successfully lobbied for gun legislation in Connecticut, with expanded background checks and limits on ammunition magazine sizes.

60 Minutes: Sandy Hook Promise

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Seven families came together at Newtown Town Hall. They are part of Sandy Hook Promise, which hopes to give lasting meaning to senseless tragedy.

Parents introduced their very young family members, who were killed in a rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. Tearful memories were still raw just a few months after the events.

60 Minutes: Sandy Hook Families

60 Minutes: Sandy Hook Promise, Newtown Families & Gun Control Reform

Sandy Hook Promise, a group of families who lost loved ones in a 2012 elementary school massacre, is lobbying to change gun control laws in America. (Gina Jacobs / Shutterstock.com)

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The solemnity of the parents was transparent through the TV cameras, and everyone recalled the positive aspects of students as well as educators and staff whose lives were lost in one horrible morning.

As they shared their memories, they also offered their hopes for changing gun laws. They shared a letter and photographs with state lawmakers, in hopes of resonating by creating a personal connection with those in power.

60 Minutes: Sandy Hook Promise Connecticut Lobbying

One woman said she wanted to remind public servants that these are the people whose wishes they are responsible for representing. Some ignored the families, perhaps presuming they were typical lobbyists.

Others who realized that the assembled citizens were from Sandy Hook, sympathized and even cried with the survivors, listening to their message. That lobbying effort was ultimately successful in the state, at least so far.

60 Minutes: Universal Background Checks

Universal background checks are important to the group, Mark Baden said. “They have passed almost everything that we were hoping they would, and they have done it in a bipartisan way.”

Bill Sherlach’s wife had tried to stop the gunman at Sandy Hook. He said he thought it was important to limit magazine size to 10 rounds, rather than the 30 used in the massacre in Connecticut.

60 Minutes: Gun Magazine Size

Eleven kids escaped during the attacks, and the family members say that limiting magazine rounds would increase the gaps during the time it takes a shooter to reload, which could save more lives in a similar future attack.

Apparently, the shooter left lower-capacity magazines at home. The Sandy Hook Promise group seemed to agree that magazine size was an important component of their mission.

60 Minutes: Gun Control & Health Care

Gun control legislation is a hot button topic, and Scott Pelley asked the group about whether they were pursuing an assault weapons ban. One mother said that gun control is more complex than knee-jerk reactions. “We’re looking for real change and common sense solutions,” she said.

Another survivor said this was an issue where political parties and affiliations should be put aside, while another emphasized that mental health is also an important factor that does need to be addressed.

A therapist in the group said that American mental health care is underfunded and undertreated as compared to other countries. She said that the stigma associated with treatment is one of the many barriers.

60 Minutes: Adam Lanza’s Mother

It is hard to gather much that is definitive about the family situation of shooter Adam Lanza, and the role of his mother, Nancy Lanza, who was also killed by her son on that day.

A surviving father, David Wheeler, observed that the family had an atypical situation, and “something was very, very wrong in there.” In fact, the family gun safe was located in Adam’s bedroom.

60 Minutes: Parenting & Community

Parents agreed that they have to set limits for their children and keep them away from interests that could hurt themselves or others. Wheeler said that the community failed as well, because friends or extended family of the Lanzas did nothing to speak up about the situation.

Bill Sherlach said that this becomes an issue of being concerned and involved in your community and the people around you. What happens in one household can affect many other people, as seen in the Sandy Hook tragedy.

60 Minutes: Newtown Gun Control

Wheeler said it’s easy to think this could never happen to you, until it does come to your town or your school. Everyone has an obligation, he believed, to prevent something like this from happening yet again.

It’s a weighty issue that elicits strong opinions. Unfortunately, there is probably no easy answer to be found, but the Sandy Hook families are committed to keep trying.

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