Sandy Hook Promise Seeks to Change Public Views on Guns

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With a video of a school student quietly planning a shooting, viewed 75 million times since it was posted on social media Dec. 2, the nonprofit group Sandy Hook Promise is trying to build a movement beyond the high-profile failure to enact federal gun control legislation after the Newtown, Ct., school shootings four years ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. “It’s about influencing attitudes and behaviors,” said Mark Barden, the Newtown father whose young son, Daniel, was one of 20 first-graders murdered on Dec. 14, 2012. “If you do that, the policies will follow.”

With the push to regulate firearms stalled in Congress and the recent victory of NRA-endorsed Republican Donald Trump, passing new federal gun control laws might seem more out of reach than ever. Barden isn’t dissuaded. As a managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, he is not focused on a single bill but rather on the slow, steady work of shifting public opinion about guns. Formed in the bleak days immediately after the shootings, Sandy Hook Promise is concentrating its efforts on larger goals than universal background checks or barring those on terrorism watch lists from buying guns. Although it supports both measures, the group has a more ambitious agenda: changing the hearts of one person at a time. Barden compares the effort to social movements for marriage equality or recycling or ending drunken driving.

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