Sandy Hook families urge Delaware lawmakers to strengthen state gun laws [video]

Parents of three of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School met with Gov. Jack Markell and Delaware lawmakers at Legislative Hall today, urging them to strengthen Delaware’s gun laws. 

“We’ve been trying to encourage lawmakers in other states, and in Washington, to embrace the concept of expanding background checks to gun shows and internet sales,” said Mark Barden whose 6-year-old son Daniel was killed. “We also would like to see the limit to large capacity magazines.”

The group, Sandy Hook Promise coordinated the trip to Leg Hall. Community members from Newtown, Connecticut created the nonprofit organization which promotes reforms to the nation’s gun laws.

“I just don’t know that I would have the courage or the ability to take this unbelievable tragedy that you have experienced and now be turning it into something positive,” Gov. Markell, D-Del, said.

“We’re just here to honor our children. We are choosing, we’re not being asked or pushed, we are choosing love; we are choosing advocacy,” said Nelba Marquez-Greene. Her daughter Ana was among the 20 children killed in December. 

Today’s visit comes on the heels of Delaware closing the so-called “gun show loophole.” Last month, the General Assembly passed House Bill 35, requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales in the First State. The governor is scheduled to sign HB 35 into law Wednesday afternoon, alongside the families from Newtown.

The families also encouraged state lawmakers to continue to support gun legislation they say saves lives while respecting people’s right to bear arms. A House committee will consider Senate Bill 16 tomorrow, requiring gun owners to report lost/stolen firearms to prevent straw purchases; meanwhile, the full House still has to vote on House Bill 58, which proposes banning large capacity magazines – a bill that resonates with mom Nicole Hockley, who lost her 6-year-old son Dylan. 

“Our shooter actively chose the high capacity magazines to increase his kill rate,” Hockley said, adding shooter Adam Lanza fired off 154 rounds in about 4 minutes. “We just continue to hope that at a federal and state level to continue to see stronger gun legislation put in place. It’s not about banning or confiscation, it’s about helping save lives.”

The U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill expanding background checks last month. In addition to infringing on one’s Second Amendment rights, critics of gun legislation argue more laws won’t keep guns out the hands of the wrong people.

“Why are we saying if it can’t prevent everything, we’ll do nothing,” asked Marquez-Greene. “What we’re talking about is common sense. I don’t want any other mother to ever have to go through my nightmare and the reality is eight mothers a day, do. So why don’t we try?”

Delaware’s gun bills are part of a package proposed by Gov. Markell shortly after the shootings at Sandy Hook.

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