It sometimes feels as though sustained conversations about gun control hinge on gun-related tragedies to act as a reminder of the issue, but one year after the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shootings, President Obama reiterated his calls for stricter gun control.
“We haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer,” Obama said in his weekly address. “We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds.”
On December 14, 2002, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, shocking the country and sparking fierce debates over stricter gun control laws in the country. On the one-year anniversary, Newtown officials had asked for media members to avoid coming to the town en masse for coverage and most media organizations respected the request, relying on the associated press’s wire service for coverage.
On Thursday, the National Cathedral held a vigil to remember the victims with religious leaders of different faiths calling for increased legislation regarding gun control. The event was organized by The Newtown Foundation — a gun-control advocacy group whose leaders have called for action against gun violence and racism over the past year, The Washington Post reports.
But as The Post points out, Congress has missed its chance to pass any significant gun control legislation, even as President Obama has consistently urged lawmakers to make changes. In April, legislation intended to strengthen background checks and ban military-style assault rifles and high-capacity magazines failed in the senate. The only other legislation aimed at gun control came earlier this month when Congress renewed its ban on manufacturing plastic firearms that are able to go undetected in screening devices.
While stricter gun control is the obvious target when it comes to legislation aimed at preventing a tragedy similar to Sandy Hook, there’s no doubt that the subject of mental health is just as important as — if not more than — the gun legislation itself. On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Obama administration would be setting aside an additional $100 million for mental health services. That money will be allocated evenly between rural mental-health centers and community centers looking to hire providers and boost services.
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