On the Newtown Shooting Anniversary

One year ago this Saturday, December 14, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother and then took the lives of 20 first-graders and six school staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before ending his own life. Since then, 20 states have passed more than 40 new gun-related laws to address some key issues such as expanded background checks and limiting magazine capacities, although no new federal gun laws have passed.

In November, John Hudak, fellow and managing editor of the FixGov blog, sat down with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy to discuss his state’s new laws on gun control, mental health and school safety. Watch the interview:


“As the first anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School nears,” Hudak wrote, “officials across Connecticut are working together, in a bipartisan manner, to meet citizen demands to address gun violence, lapses in the mental health care system, and weaknesses in school safety.”

Just days after the shooting last year, Hudak, a Connecticut native, wrote “A Response to Sandy Hook”:

What first springs to mind in the wake of a mass shooting is a debate over gun laws, but this tragedy exposes much more. A debate on guns must be had, but we must also have one about school safety. We must also have one about our opinion of teachers in society. We must also have one about mental health care, for patients and families of patients.

Now is the time to address these issues in a level-headed, scientific, solution-seeking way. We must do this at the local, state, and federal levels. And we must do this at a personal level. We have an absolute obligation to ourselves, to our communities, to our nation, to our constitution, and to the victims and families of this tragedy and others like it.

The approach is straightforward but not simple. First, we must change our rhetoric, then our policies.

In July,
Matt Bennett
, senior vice president for public affairs and a co-founder of Third Way, wrote in
The Brookings Essay
about his experience working with the families of Sandy Hook victims to navigate the challenging currents of gun safety policymaking in Washington. It was late in January 2013, he wrote, when

I stood before the Sandy Hook families on that day in January to brief them on the basics of gun policy and politics. These are smart, educated people. They assumed that, in the wake of this horror, Congress would pass some long-overdue gun safety measures. By then, however, this much was already clear to the political classes: there wasn’t going to be a renewed ban on assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines, no matter how wrenching the scene in Newtown. Congress just didn’t have the courage to take such a step. The Senate wouldn’t pass it, and the House wouldn’t even consider it.

Read his essay, “The Promise: The Families of Sandy Hook and the Long Road to Gun Safety.”