Uvalde shooting: Sandy Hook Promise urges vigilance of warning signs

CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- For parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Tuesday's mass shooting in Texas brings them back to that tragic day in Newtown.

Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden both lost their sons nearly 10 years ago, and in the aftermath, they formed Sandy Hook Promise with a mission to stop school shootings.

"We actually get very discouraged when people are saying this is inevitable, this is a normal part of life in America, that this is just the way it is," Hockley said.

In the wake of Uvalde, they're urging everyone to keep an eye out for warning signs.

"How do you teach knowing the signs?" Hockley said. "How do we prepare for this more at a community and school and district level, a family level, so that when our children need help, we get them the help we need."

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Sandy Hook Promise has received more than 80,000 tips, and there have been nine school shootings averted through the "Know the Signs" educational program, including in West Virginia, Ohio and Texas.

"The would-be shooter tipped himself into our anonymous reporting system and said, 'I've got my Glock, I'm ready to roll. Come find me,'" Hockley said. "We did."

Hockley and Barden again amplified the legislative police changes they say their research shows will stem the mass shooting epidemic.

"There is a lot of opportunity that will allow us to enact simple policy in gun safety that will not infringe up on anyone's Second Amendment rights," Barden said. "We can start this conversation, and it doesn't have to be a partisan argument. We can start within the frame of, everyone wants to protect their children."

Their proposed policy solutions include supporting the passage of more red flag laws, closing the loophole in federal background checks, secure storage of firearms, and restricting access for teens to military grade assault-style weapons.

"We know that this is a community that's going to be traumatized," Hockley said. "We know that this is a generation that's already traumatized by gun violence, by school shootings...Perhaps if there were enough parents and members of Congress had grown up in this reality, then maybe we wouldn't be where we are right now."

Sandy Hook Promise released the following statement after the shooting, urging action:

"We are grieving with the families of the innocent lives taken in this horrific tragedy. Nineteen children will never come home from school. We know firsthand the unspeakable pain and darkness that descended on Uvalde today. Nearly 10 years ago, our sons, Dylan and Daniel, went to school and never came home.

"All of us at Sandy Hook Promise are devastated by this shooting, haunted by the shocking similarities to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. We are sickened under the weight of our sadness as we watch another community of families suffering their worst nightmare.

"Having lived through a mass shooting, still enduring the pain of our own children being killed in their first-grade classrooms by senseless violence, we know that nothing is going to bring back the precious lives lost in Uvalde. We know that the road ahead for the Robb Elementary School community will be incredibly difficult. We want to offer the families our compassion and commitment to honor their loved ones, along with ours, as we continue our mission to end gun violence. We also offer ourselves to them, in whatever way we can be of service to their needs.

"For everyone else waking up today - take a moment as you send your child to school and imagine what the Uvalde community is experiencing. Take your heartache, your fear, your anger and sadness, and channel them into action. We must take action today and every day until this epidemic of violence ends. Call on your elected officials to pass commonsense legislation now that protects the safety and lives of children. This can be done while upholding second amendment rights. Now is the time to take bold action; as a country, how much longer can we stand by while innocent children continue to be killed?"


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