One year later the nation is still struggling to make sense of what happened in Newton, Connecticut on that day and still trying to cope with the legacy of the second-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
And just one day after the nation grappled with yet another school shooting, this time at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, the anniversary is no less painful than the day Lanza killed six adult women, 12 girls and eight boys in 11 minutes. He also died of a self-inflicted wound that day.
So how is the nation dealing with the continued gun violence and the pain that day has left us? Some would argue we’re not.
After President Barack Obama called for “meaningful action” to stop senseless gun violence, a number of things happened. He was unable to persuade Congress about gun reform, the Senate blocked legislation that would strengthen gun background checks and gun advocates united, touting the second amendment and their firearms in the face of those who lost loved ones to gun violence.
But what Obama was able to do was signed 23 executive actions to strengthen existing gun laws and take related steps on mental health and school safety. According to the Washington Post, 109 gun bills presented after Sandy Hook are now laws, even if that number is out of 1,000 plus that were introduced.
An impressive (roughly) 1,500 state gun bills have been introduced in the year since the Newtown massacre and, of those, 109 are now law, according to The New York Times. Seventy of the enacted laws loosen gun restrictions, while just 39 tighten them. And, though largely symbolic, some 136 bills nullifying federal gun regulations were sponsored in 40 states. In Colorado, two pro-gun control lawmakers were booted from office in historic recalls and a third stepped down in anticipation of a similar fight.
The fight for gun control will be a long hard road…and difficult to change.
The gap between direct contributions in favor of gun rights and those in support of gun control is huge. According to the Washington Post, gun-control contributions amounted to just 6.5 percent of what gun-rights advocates raised from 1989 through the 2012 elections.
Gun rights candidates and causes raised $29.4 million in direct contributions to candidates, parties, and PACs at the federal and state level. Gun control causes raised just $1.9 million, according to Sunlight-provided data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money In State Politics. In seven states—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming—no contributions whatsoever were made in support of gun control.
Check out this info-graphic of direct contributions to candidates and parties:
The gun control fight continues, but on a human aspect, the nation has come together to support one another in the year after the deadly massacre.
Just this week the mother of 6-year-old Emilie Parker released a tribute video, thanking family, friends and complete strangers for showing her the good in humanity and supporting her family through a difficult time.
A year later, today, the president offered comforting words and stressed that the fight to end senseless gun violence, no matter how difficult, is still going strong.
We stand with Newtown as they face this difficult day. We stand with the nation in the fight to end gun violence. And as always, we pray for the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting and their families.