Newtown Dad Says Background Check Supporters ‘Will Not Be Defeated’

Mark Barden, the father of a seven-year-old boy who was killed in the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last December gave President Barack Obama an emotional introduction Wednesday evening at a press conference following the defeat of legislation to expand background checks on gun sales in the Senate.  

“What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere. In any instant, any dad in America could be in my shoes. No one should feel the pain. No one should feel our pain or the pain felt by the tens of thousands of people who have lost loved ones to senseless gun violence,” Barden said. “That’s why we’re here. Two weeks ago, twelve of us from Newtown came to meet with U.S. denators and have a conversation about how to bring common-sense solutions to the issues of gun violence. … We met with dozens of Democrats and Republicans and shared with them pictures of our children, spouses, parents who lost their lives on December 14. Expanded background checks wouldn’t have saved our loved ones but, still, we came to support a bipartisan proposal from two senators, both with ‘A’ ratings from the NRA, a common-sense proposal supported by 90 percent of Americans.”

Barden described the background checks bill as “a proposal that will save lives without interfering with the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.” He thanked the politicians who supported the legislation and vowed he and other relatives of gun violence victims would continue fighting for it. 

“We’ll return home now disappointed but not defeated. We return home with a determination that change will happen. Maybe not today, but it will happen. It will happen soon. We’ve always known this would be a long road and we don’t have the luxury of turning back. We will keep moving forward and build public support for common sense solutions in the areas of mental health, school safety, and gun safety,” said Barden. “We take strength from the children and loved ones that we lost and we carry a great faith in the American people. … Every day as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence our determination grows stronger.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com
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