Weekly Address: Sandy Hook Victim’s Mother Calls for Commonsense Gun Responsibility Reforms

Francine Wheeler:
Hi. As you’ve probably noticed,
I’m not the President. I’m just a citizen. And as a citizen, I’m here at
the White House today because I want to make a difference
and I hope you will join me. My name is Francine Wheeler. My husband David is with me. We live in Sandy
Hook, Connecticut. David and I have two sons. Our older son Nate,
soon to be 10 years old, is a fourth grader at Sandy
Hook Elementary School. Our younger son, Ben, age six,
was murdered in his first-grade classroom on December
14th, exactly 4 months ago this weekend. David and I lost
our beloved son, and Nate lost his best friend. On what turned out to be the
last morning of his life, Ben told me, quite out of the
blue, “I still want to be an “architect, Mama, but I also
want to be a paleontologist, “because that’s what Nate is
going to be and I want to do “everything Nate does.” Ben’s love of fun and his
excitement at the wonders of life were unmatched. His boundless energy kept him
running across the soccer field long after the game was over. And he couldn’t wait to
get to school every morning. He sang with perfect pitch and
had just played at his third piano recital. Irrepressibly
bright and spirited, Ben experienced
life at full tilt. Until that morning. 20 of our children, and
6 of our educators — gone. Out of the blue. I’ve heard people say that
the tidal wave of anguish our country felt on
12/14 has receded. But not for us. To us, it feels as if it
happened just yesterday. And in the four months since
we lost our loved ones, thousands of other Americans
have died at the end of a gun. Thousands of other families
across the United States are also drowning in our grief. Please help us do something
before our tragedy becomes your tragedy. Sometimes, I close my eyes and
all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook
Volunteer Firehouse for the boy who would never come home — the
same firehouse that was home to Ben’s Tiger Scout Den 6. But other times, I feel Ben’s
presence filling me with courage for what I have to do — for him
and all the others taken from us so violently and too soon. We have to convince the Senate
to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility
reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent
more tragedies like the one we never thought
would happen to us. When I packed for
Washington on Monday, it looked like the Senate
might not act at all. Then, after the President
spoke in Hartford, and a dozen of us met with
Senators to share our stories, more than two-thirds of the
Senate voted to move forward. But that’s only the start. They haven’t yet passed any
bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of
dangerous people. And a lot of people are fighting
to make sure they never do. Now is the time to act. Please join us. You can talk to
your Senator, too. Or visit WhiteHouse.gov to find
out how you can help join the President and get involved. Help this be the moment
when real change begins. From the bottom of
my heart, thank you.

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