WESTPORT, Conn. (WTNH) –The conversation about gun reform continues across the country following the deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, FL. That includes here in Connecticut, where one group of concerned mothers, fathers, teachers and mental health professionals met to talk about what they can do now to encourage gun safety legislation.
The meeting was supposed to be a small group of mothers in the Norwalk area, as part of ‘Moms Demand Action,’ but there was so much interest around the state following the Parkland, Florida school shooting, they opened up a church for nearly 150 people.
The chapter leader, Kara Baekey says with many feeling angry, helpless and hopeless, she wanted to empower people to act.
“Moms Demand Action has an incredible infrastructure when it comes to training and empowering people,” said Kara Beakey. “I think that’s what people need, they need to feel like there are things that they can do.”
The group is focused on universal background checks at the federal level as well as making sure the concealed carry reciprocity doesn’t pass the senate.
Baekey says for many, there was something different about this latest school shooting, with students video taping the horror and speaking directly to lawmakers recounting their harrowing stories and demanding action.
“They’re raising their voices and saying enough is enough, you need to act or we’re going to call you out and come for you and guess what – we’re almost 18 and we’re going to vote and vote you out,” Baekey said.
Jason Zetoff is a teacher in Newtown who also came to the meeting. One of his students lost his younger brother at Sandy Hook elementary in 2012. Zetoff was just a second year teacher at the time.
“I had tears in my eyes as I was driving to school thinking what do I say to my student who just lost his younger brother to a tragedy that should have never happened,” Zetoff told News 8.
He now only votes for candidates who stand for common sense gun safety legislation, like background checks.
Janet Carl also felt empowered to attend.
“I’m fed up with inaction,” Carl said. “There is a whole generation of individuals who have grown up from Sandy Hook that now walk into movie theaters, walk into concerts and think about where’s the exit, what’s my plan?” Carl said.
She says we must focus on elected officials who make policy in our country. She says her greatest frustration is the NRA and their funding for political candidates.
Carl was also disheartened to learn about all the warning signs that went unnoticed with the Florida school shooter, including law enforcement being called to his home 37 times.
“With the technology we have today, why can’t we coordinate that information with the purchasing of an AR-15 rifle?” Carl said.
Moms Demand Action says gun safety is winning at the polls. While many ask what has changed since Sandy Hook, Baekey says it’s important to note eight states now have universal background checks.