Thirty-two family members of victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy -- including 20 family members of slain Newtown teacher and Stratford native Victoria Soto -- sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday as they resumed their markup of gun bills.
The family members called on Congress to require background checks on all gun sales, limit military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime.
The full letter follows, and also is attached as a PDF in the gallery right.
Dear Chairman Leahy and Senators Grassley, Blumenthal, and Murphy:
We are 32 family members of victims who were killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 – innocent children and their educators responsibly going about their day.
No one can describe our pain and the brutal day-to-day emotions we suffer. No one can bring our loved ones back and no one from our community of Newtown, Connecticut will ever go back to “normal.”
In the midst of our anguish we have learned about the dangerous loopholes in our nation’s gun laws and we are compelled to speak out to save others from suffering what we have endured. We are writing today to express our deep conviction and support for the President’s plan to reduce gun violence in America.
Specifically we are asking members of Congress to:
1. Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America that includes a review of all disqualifying records and meaningful record keeping for all sales – in the same manner that Federally licensed dealers are currently required;
2. Ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines; and
3. Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for straw purchasers;
The epidemic of injury and death from gun violence is a plague on America, especially since the toll it takes on our families is preventable. Our nation’s families deserve to be safe and free in their schools, movie theaters, workplaces and their homes. We ask Congress, in honor and memory of our loved ones, to support the measures that the President has put forward to help stem the epidemic of gun violence.
Our precious children and family members who were so brutally murdered on December 14th deserve nothing less.
Jackie Barden, Mother of Daniel Barden
Mark Barden, Father of Daniel Barden
Neil Heslin, Father of Jesse Lewis
Veronique Pozner, Mother of Noah Pozner
Len Pozner, Father of Noah Pozner
Gilles Rousseau, Father of Lauren Rousseau
Teresa Rousseau, Mother of Lauren Rousseau
Andrew Rousseau, Brother of Lauren Rousseau
Matthew Rousseau, Brother of Lauren Rousseau
Suzanne Connors, Sister of Mary Sherlach
Jane Dougherty, Sister of Mary Sherlach
Joseph Greene, Brother of Mary Sherlach
Carlos Soto, Father of Victoria Soto
Donna Soto, Mother of Victoria Soto
Carlee Soto, Sister of Victoria Soto
Carlos M. Soto, Brother of Victoria Soto
Jillian Soto, Sister of Victoria Soto
Donald Fagan, Grandfather of Victoria Soto
Debra Cronk, Aunt and Godmother of Victoria Soto
Robert Cronk, Uncle of Victoria Soto
Dean Fagan, Uncle and Godfather of Victoria Soto
Denise Fagan, Aunt of Victoria Soto
Don Fagan, Uncle of Victoria Soto
Linda Fagan, Aunt of Victoria Soto
Alex Fagan, cousin of Victoria Soto
Brianne Cronk, cousin of Victoria Soto
Christopher Fagan, cousin of Victoria Soto
Donald Fagan, cousin of Victoria Soto
Douglas Fagan, cousin of Victoria Soto
Heather Cronk, cousin of Victoria Soto
Wesley Cronk, cousin of Victoria Soto
Zachary Fagan, cousin of Victoria Soto