Washington — In Washington to prod Congress to act on gun control as the six-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy nears, family members and friends of the victims found sympathetic ears.
“My heart goes out to them,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other House Republicans held a half-hour meeting with several family members of the 20 children and six women killed in the Newton massacre.
But none of the GOP leaders offered support for a measure that died in the Senate in April that would expand FBI background checks of gun buyers.
Some family members visited key allies to thank them for their efforts in the fight for tougher gun laws. Those included Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a main architect of the background check bill.
“We are not going anywhere; we are here with you,” Nicole Hockley told Manchin.
She lost her son, 6-year-old Dylan, in the Dec. 14 shooting.
Another group, members of the Newtown Action Alliance, spent the day trying to meet with conservative House Democrats.
None met with them, offering up their staff members instead.
Lauren Green from Lebanon said she came to Washington on a busful of activists from the alliance Wednesday because she has school-aged children and she was “deeply affected” by the tragedy.
“I had to drive them to school in the days after Newtown and they did not feel safe,” Green said.
She said she felt good about her day of lobbying in Washington.
“I would have liked to actually meet with a congressman, but I know that their schedules are very busy,” she said.
The Newtown activists plan to continue their Capitol Hill activities Thursday, holding press conferences and reading the names of the nearly 5,000 Americans killed by gunfire since the Sandy Hook shooting.