Six months after Sandy Hook shootings, pain and gun debate remain

It took just 26 seconds to honor Sandy Hook victims on Friday, the six-month anniversary of the shootings in Newton, Conn.

To illustrate the larger scope of gun violence in the United States, however, took much longer.

Families, residents, survivors and supporters gathered at Edmond Town Hall for an emotional tribute to the six educators and 20 children killed last Dec. 14.

They paused for a 26-second moment of silence before reading out the 6,000 names of Americans killed by guns since Sandy Hook.

That was expected to take 12 hours.

“This pain is excruciating and unbearable, but thanks to people like you, that come out and support us, we are able to get through this,” said Carlee Soto, whose sister Victoria died at Newtown, according to Newsday.

And while those memories remain for Sandy Hook survivors, so does the gun debate.

Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman shot in the head two years ago, penned an editorial in the Newtown Bee newspaper Friday that chastised Congress as “out of step” on gun control.

Lawmakers passed on a recent bipartisan bill that called for increased background checks.

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Along with Roxanna Green, whose 9-year-old daughter Christina-Taylor died in Arizona, Giffords said Americans deserve more.

“What they now expect is for the government to do its job and to care for families throughout this country – any one of us – who could be the next victims of random and tragic gun violence,” Giffords and Green write.

USA Today estimates states have passed 86 gun laws since the Sandy Hook massacre.

States such as Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado and New York stiffened background checks or limited access to assault weapons and ammunition.

Others, however, made it easier to carry weapons. In Arkansas, churches can’t restrict who brings a gun to mass, while Mississippi soldiers or veterans can now carry concealed weapons beginning at age 18.

The National Rifle Association plans to spend $100,000 on a West Virginia ad campaign that asks votes to remind Sen. Joe Manchin, a sponsor of gun control legislation, to honor the second amendment.

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