Mark Barden is co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund. Since the tragic murder of his son, Daniel, during the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, Mark has dedicated himself to sparing other families the pain of losing children to gun violence.
Mark believes that thoughtful, sincere dialogue centered on protecting youth will lead us to shared common ground and nonpartisan solutions everyone can agree with. These include expanded background checks, secure storage of firearms, extreme risk protection laws, and other measures that are proven to prevent gun violence.
Under his leadership, the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund successfully advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. This includes writing and passing the Mental Health Parity Act under President Obama; the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act under President Trump; and Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act under President Biden. In the summer of 2022, the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund helped a deeply partisan Congress come together to pass the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” the first gun safety package in nearly 30 years, which included enhanced background checks for buyers under the age of 21, partially closing the dating loophole, funding to support states implementing extreme risk protection orders, and additional funding for mental health services and school safety. Each piece of legislation passed through Congress with bipartisan support helps ensure that cost is never a barrier to school violence prevention.
His opinion editorials have been published in major media outlets including The Hill, Newsweek, People, Fatherly, and more. He is also a sought-after public speaker about gun violence prevention and school safety, having testified before Congress and presented before school safety conferences, civic groups, community rallies, and more.
An accomplished professional musician with a Bachelor of the Arts in music and formal training in jazz and composition, Mark stopped touring to spend more time with his family. He still performs regularly with his own band and others in New York City and throughout the Northeast.A lifelong aviation enthusiast, Mark is also a licensed commercial pilot.
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