New Federal Mental Health Parity Rule

Sandy Hook Promise parent and Mental Health and Relational Wellness Director Nelba Marquez-Greene today issued the following statement in praise of a new final federal rule that provides greater parity for mental health services covered under group and individual health plans by placing them on the same level as traditional medical and surgical benefit coverage.

"This is a critical step, long in coming, to making mental health care accessible to those who need it. That benefits everyone in our nation. In addition to recognizing the importance of mental health care to millions of Americans, increasing access to treatment will help remove the stigma of seeking treatment," said Marquez-Greene, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Statement on Los Angeles Airport Shooting

Today, in yet another tragedy involving the shooting of innocent people, a gunman opened fire in Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport. Reports indicate that at least one person is dead.

Nicole Hockley, the mother of 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, issued the following statement on behalf of Sandy Hook Promise in response to today's incident:

"Our nation has once again been shocked by another shooting of innocent people going about their daily lives – an incident that is too frequently repeated. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that have been impacted by today's shooting, especially the victims who surely did not expect to suffer injury as the result of a firearm at work this morning. We also recognize the bravery of the law enforcement officers on the scene who responded to protect the public during this senseless act of violence.

"Today's incident once again highlights the need for us to come together and tackle the issue of gun violence and its tragic impact on our communities. We invite all Americans to join us in helping to make our future safer for our communities and for our children."

Statement on Sparks, Nevada School Shooting

Today, shots were fired at a middle school in Sparks, Nevada. While official reports are still coming in, eye witness accounts indicate that a student opened fire in his classroom. At least two deaths have been reported, and two other victims have been transported to area hospitals with gunshot wounds.

Nicole Hockley, the mother of 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, issued the following statement on behalf of Sandy Hook Promise in response to today's incident:

"The unthinkable has happened yet again, this time in Sparks, Nevada. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the children of Sparks Middle School, who today came face to face with violence that no child should ever experience. It's moments like this that demand that we unite as parents to find common sense solutions that keep our children – all children – safe, and prevent these tragedies from happening again and again."

Sandy Hook Promise mom joins kickoff event of Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy

Francine Wheeler, the mother of six-year-old Ben Wheeler, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, joined US Congressman Bob Brady, Admiral and former US Congressman Joe Sestak, PA Senator Anthony Williams, PA Representative Ronald Waters, local mayors, and others for the kickoff event of Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy. The event, which formally announced the formation of Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy, was held this evening in Media, PA. Founded on June 3, 2013, the group is working to reduce gun violence through the enactment and enforcement of sensible gun policies.

Mark Barden attends Washington Navy Yard memorial service and speaks on ABC's "This Week" panel

A special message from Mark Barden, father of seven-year-old Daniel:

On Sunday, I was invited to attend the memorial service to honor the lives lost in the mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

From a few blocks away, the magnitude of the event was evident by the scores of U.S. Navy officers and personnel arriving in full dress.

As we made our way across the lawn and past the families who had lost loved ones, I tried to push my own grief aside. I reminded myself that this was for them, these families. But as the Navy Band began the first bars of "Danny Boy", my feeble wall of altruism crumbled and I was overwhelmed with emotion.

I am these families. I joined this awful club last Dec. 14th when my seven year old Daniel was killed by a gunman in his 1st grade classroom along with 25 other innocent children and educators.

I re-centered my focus on the here and now. I looked at the large group of people whose lives are forever changed. These people now know the inexplicable pain of trying to contemplate the unimaginable. These people will never have an answer to that constantly pervasive "why?' This time, I was able to truly step away, for a moment, from my own tragedy...and let my heart break for them.

Sandy Hook Promise Applauds Starbucks

Though Sandy Hook Promise did not take a position on Starbucks' open-carry policy, we applaud Starbucks' handling of the matter. The company clearly listened to all the parties in the debate before coming to their recently announced position. Sandy Hook Promise is a strong supporter of the second amendment, but we watched in dismay as this "conversation" devolved into partisan bickering and irresponsible symbolic gestures, such as the call to bear arms in a Newtown Starbucks, just down the road from where our loved ones were killed on December 14. Sandy Hook Promise believes that in order to improve gun safety we must have an honest, open conversation with responsible gun owners. We hope that this action by Starbucks will lead to that kind of dialogue.

Sandy Hook Promise Issues Statement on Washington Navy Yard Shooting

As the nation learns details of the shooting rampage that took place this morning at the Washington Navy Yard, we feel in our hearts the deep pain and loss brought about by gun violence. Please pray for the families of those lost today. The victims were parents and children, brothers and sisters, and families around the country will mourn their loss.

As we send our condolences to the families of those killed at the Washington Navy Yard, our hearts are broken, our spirit is not. We will continue to honor our pledge to find common ground around sensible solutions that put an end to such tragedy. But today is a day to grieve for the lives needlessly lost.

Parents of Newtown victims urge stronger gun laws in Mass.

The governor, the mayor of Boston, and representatives of the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners' Action League testified on gun control legislation in a packed and often tense Beacon Hill hearing room Friday. But when the parents of two first-graders killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings stepped to the witness table, a heavy hush fell.