'You Can't Not Feel This': Sandy Hook Parent On New Momentum For Gun Law Changes
A day after holding a listening session with school shooting survivors, President Trump tweeted that he supports arming some teachers, as well as tightening some background checks and raising the age limit to 21 for gun purchasers.
Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, attended the listening session. Barden tells Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti there’s a “different tone” about gun legislation following the shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“You can’t not feel this,” he says. “If you’re a living, breathing human being and then you’re a parent, and so yeah, it was palpable in the room. …
“And I hope that the president and his administration did feel something and did take something away from that and can move forward with constructive ideas around sustainable solutions of how to make our schools and students safer.”
On if he supports the idea of arming teachers
“No I don’t. There’s so many ways that that can go wrong when law enforcement arrives. Who is the adult holding the gun? Is that an active shooter? Is that a school person? There’s just so many ways that goes wrong. That’s why we get into the stream before the gun is in the equation and train in prevention programs.
“We have come up with a model that works, that protects kids and schools by training kids by teaching them how to recognize the warning signs of somebody at risk and getting them to the help that they need before it becomes a tragedy.”
On proposals to ban bump stocks and tighten background checks
“This is a huge problem in our country. People are dying in the streets, and it’s not just about mass shootings. People are dying in the streets across this country unnoticed every day. Those measures that they are proposing are part of that puzzle. They will do something. They will do some positive good, but there has to be a whole lot more that has to be across a broad range of different kinds of solutions. So we need legislative solutions. We need prevention programs. We need policy initiatives. We need awareness and engagement from people across the country. We need to be talking to the sensible center. This has to be nonpartisan. We need to treat this as a social movement, and everybody needs to be engaged.”
On the role of politics in the gun debate
“I illustrated a real, working solution to the president yesterday, and the whole idea of prevention and getting into this before anyone picks up a gun. So the solutions are there, and the president says he’s listening. So we have to hold him accountable to that, and we have to see what they want to do. This is not about Democrats or Republicans. This is about us working together as a nation to do a better job at making our schools safer not by putting more guns in schools, but by training students and teachers how to recognize warning signs and take the next step. I know that that’s the way forward.”
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