Conflict & Justice

Five years after Sandy Hook, still no new gun laws

One week after President Donald Trump said he is “a true friend and champion” of the National Rifle Association, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, Democratic members of Congress and gun violence prevention organizations rallied outside the Capitol for two days of events to push for gun control reform.

Giffords was shot in the head in a 2011 assassination attempt that left her with a brain injury.

“Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone,” Giffords said at a news conference Wednesday morning at the Capitol.

Giffords’ organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions, wants Congress and the president to “make our communities safer from gun violence and reject the corporate gun lobby’s dangerous agenda.”

Congress has passed no new gun control laws since 2012.

Over 50 percent of people under the age of 24 support new gun control laws, according to a 2016 GenForward survey.

Related: President Trump, More than 80% of gun owners say they would support some new restrictions on guns. Do you?

“The options of things that people can do with guns, you need to be able to control that. You need to be able to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” said Bryce Janne, 26, who was visiting Washington from Kansas to look at law schools.

Washington resident Jerry Rose, 17, said mentally ill people should not be allowed to own guns, referring to a law passed by Congress and signed by Trump that rescinded a requirement created during the Obama administration that was aimed at stopping gun sales to those with serious mental illnesses.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., who represents the district where the Sandy Hook shootings occurred, said in an interview that “the answer just cannot be guns everywhere, by everyone, at any time, for any reason.”

On Thursday, a team of bikers called “Team 26” left the Capitol grounds on a 400-mile ride to Sandy Hook to commemorate the 26 children and teachers killed in the 2012 elementary school mass shooting.

“No child should have to fear for their life walking to school,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

Editor’s Note: This story was produced by a Washington Program reporter from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.