Advancing the Conversation on Gun Safety in New Hampshire

Last month, Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden traveled to New Hampshire to advocate for legislation that would require criminal background checks for all commercial sales and transfers, preventing dangerous criminals from purchasing firearms online and at gun shows.

In a positive shift, the bill made it out of committee and to the floor for a full house vote. While the New Hampshire House ultimately failed to pass this bill, this represents a major advance in the conversation on gun safety in New Hampshire.

We're disappointed by this setback, but very encouraged by the incredible volume of our supporters' voices dedicated to protecting our communities.

We will continue to work side by side with Granite State Progress, New Castle Promise and the New Hampshire legislature to close the background check loophole and help protect the people of New Hampshire and neighboring states.

Federal Court Upholds Connecticut Gun Laws

We applaud Judge Covello's ruling, which we believe was CORRECT in upholding the Connecticut law that both protects the 2nd Amendment Rights of our citizens and protects our children from gun violence.

Statement on the Mental Health Related Provisions in the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Sandy Hook Promise today released the following statement from Nelba Marquez-Greene, SHP's Director of Mental Health and Relational Wellness, on the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill just passed by the House of Representatives, to be considered by the Senate shortly:

"Mental illness does not cause gun violence, in fact, people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. But mental illness is more than an occasional factor in gun violence, most frequently in school shootings like the one that stole the lives of our loved ones, suicides and other incidents of gun violence as well. A holistic solution is needed to address the problem of gun violence and looking at mental illness and general mental wellness are critical parts of the solution.

Since our founding exactly one year ago, Sandy Hook Promise has believed in and advocated for increased attention to promoting mental wellness and increasing early intervention to prevent mental illness that might lead to violent behavior. These are measures that impact all communities. No zip code is exempt. We have worked closely with the White House and both houses of Congress, having many meaningful, personal conversations with members on both sides of the aisle, to stress the importance of focusing on mental health alongside gun safety. We are extremely pleased with the $115 million included in the omnibus funding bill for the President's Now is the Time violence prevention initiative. We applaud the efforts of Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski to ensure the inclusion of this funding in the Omnibus.

This funding will advance critical prevention efforts, providing training to teachers, providing services to students and young people at risk, and increasing the availability of trained behavioral health professionals.

"This is the first step in a long road but we go forward in 2014 with hope, knowing that we have been heard, and as a result, lives may be saved."

Below is a summary of the mental health provisions in the FY2014 Omnibus funding bill:

  • The bill provides $15 million for Mental Health First Aid grants, which will allow teachers to reach 750,000 students with the goal of recognizing those with mental illness early and referring them to treatment. This program has been championed in the Senate by Senators Begich and Ayotte.
  • The bill provides $40 million for Project Aware, which will provide 20 grants to State Education Authorities (SEAs) for comprehensive programs in 1,000-1,500 schools to get students with mental health issues referred to needed services.
  • The bill provides $40 million for behavioral health workforce training, which will add an estimated 4,375 social workers, psychologists, therapists and other health professionals to the health workforce.
  • The bill provides $20 million for programs targeting young adults at high risk of mental illness.
  • Additionally, the Omnibus bill provides $484 million for the Mental Health Block Grant, an increase of $47 million. For the first time, the bill includes language directing States to use 5 percent of their Block Grants for early intervention programs for those with serious mental illness such as psychosis. Decreasing the delay between the first onset of symptoms and people receiving the help they need shows tremendous promise.
  • The bill provides $46 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, an increase of $2.7 million. This network of university, hospital, and community-based centers was established to improve access to care, treatment, and services for children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events.
  • The bill provides $65 million for suicide prevention programs, an increase of $10 million. This includes a total of $48 million for the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act programs.

Statement on Berrendo Middle School Shooting Tragedy in New Mexico

Tim Makris, Executive Director of Sandy Hook Promise, the grassroots organization created by community members of Newtown, CT in the aftermath of the December 14 shooting, issued the following statement today on the shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, New Mexico:

"Today our hearts break as we learn of the school shooting at Berrendo Middle School that has injured two students. Exactly one year to the day after the formation of Sandy Hook Promise, an organization devoted to addressing the causes of gun violence, we are painfully reminded that our work is far from done. No child should ever have reason to be afraid to go to school. We ask that every parent and every American join us in helping make our future safer for our communities and for our children."

Local reports say that a 14-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas; hospital officials say the boy is in critical condition and the girl is in serious condition.

A Year of Promise

Last January 14, just one month after the shocking and tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that devastated our community, we announced the formation of Sandy Hook Promise. It has been a long and difficult year, but despite Washington's inaction, we feel proud of the work our supporters have helped us achieve in building a lasting organization capable of achieving success in our communities.

We've led efforts to pass new mental health legislation in Connecticut and to strengthen responsible gun legislation not only in our home state, but also in Delaware, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states. At the federal level, we're working to advance mental health care and continuing to push for common sense solutions like background checks.

But more importantly, we're working person-by-person, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, on changes we can all make within our own communities – like helping children and young adults feel more connected.

Today, we celebrate that work and invite you to do the same by reading the timeline below. You are part of this process, and we can't do it without you. Tomorrow, we roll up our sleeves again and get back to work. Thank you.

Sandy Hook Promise Statement on Proposed Changes to Federal Firearm Background Checks

Sandy Hook Promise today welcomed two new proposed changes that will strengthen the nation’s background check system by clarifying the language that prevents individuals with certain mental health issues from purchasing firearms.  The announcement was issued by the White House and involves draft rules proposed by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.

A year after Sandy Hook, a grass-roots push to prevent gun violence

Published in the Washington Post

On Saturday, Nicole Hockley will do what she has done every day for the past year. She will mourn the death of her son Dylan, who will forever be 6 years old after he and 19 of his first-grade schoolmates at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were killed by an invading gunman.

“We live with that loss every single day, so the one-year mark is just another day for us,” she said.

Along with her husband, Ian, and Dylan’s big brother, Jake, Hockley will spend Saturday privately, “having some quiet time together,” she said.

In the wake of the violence that also killed six educators, much of the Hockleys’ grief has been visible in public as they have put their energy into advocacy on a number of fronts.

Show Your Promise on Facebook and Twitter

On December 14, 2012, Nicole Hockley’s world turned upside down. Her son Dylan was one of 20 children and 6 educators murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She joined with others in the community to create Sandy Hook Promise to make change. The symbol of that change is the tree that continues to grow, with leaves representing all those we lost.

Right now, we at Sandy Hook Promise are all changing our Facebook profile pictures to this image of the Promise tree to show the world that on 12/14 we all stand together to prevent gun violence.

Will you join us and do the same?

How to show your Promise on Facebook

  1. Download this image to your computer

  2. Hover over your Facebook profile picture
  3. Click "Edit Profile Picture"
  4. Click "Upload photo"
  5. Select the image you just downloaded
  6. Click "Open"

How to show your Promise on Twitter

  1. Download this image to your computer

  2. Click the "Edit profile" button on your timeline
  3. Click on your photo
  4. Click "Upload photo"
  5. Select the image you just downloaded
  6. Click "Open"
  7. Click "Apply"
  8. Click "Save Changes"