Newtown mom wants voice in gun control discussion
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The family of a boy shot dead in last month's elementary school massacre said Thursday it has been contacted by the White House regarding its desire to be heard in the discussion over gun control in Washington, D.C.
Alexis Haller, an uncle of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, said a White House official he met during President Barack Obama's visit to Newtown after the Dec. 14 shooting encouraged him to reach out if he had any concerns. He said he asked officials earlier this month if victims' families would be informed of initiatives stemming from the massacre and finally heard back Thursday evening about consultations between the White House and families.
A White House spokesman said Thursday the Newtown families will have the chance to share their views before Obama makes any decisions.
"There is no perspective more meaningful in this process than that of a parent who has lost a child," spokesman Matt Lehrich said in an emailed statement.
Noah, who loved to read and to figure out how things worked mechanically, was among 20 first-graders killed by the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary. His twin sister, Arielle, was assigned to a different classroom and survived the shooting. Their mother, Veronique Pozner, had said she wondered why she hadn't received more information about legislative proposals regarding guns in the weeks after the shooting.
"As the mother of a six year old victim of a cold-blooded massacre of school children, I am puzzled and disappointed by the fact that I have had no information or opportunity to be heard regarding the upcoming legislative proposal in Washington," she said in a statement released earlier by Haller, her brother.
Haller said the family has ideas it wants to share with the White House and wants to be part of the discussion about the response to the school massacre, in which the gunman also killed six adults before committing suicide.
"I think the families have an important voice, and I think those voices need to be heard by the people who are proposing the reforms," said Haller, who stressed he was speaking for only his family.
The Obama administration is assembling proposals to curb gun violence that would include a ban on sales of combat-style weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines and universal background checks for gun buyers.
The Sandy Hook gunman used weapons owned by his mother and killed her at their home before going to the school.