Gun rights groups plan event on Newtown massacre anniversary
SEATTLE -- A Seattle-area group is planning a national event to celebrate gun rights on Dec. 14th, the anniversary of the mass shooting at a Connecticut-area school.
"Guns Save Lives Day" will take place in all 50 states, said a representative for the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, although what the day entails is still to be determined.
Gun advocates are planning the event to coincide with the anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which killed 26 people, mostly children.
"The gunman lived in my neighborhood. He lived 50 yards from my front door," said Po Murray, a Newtown mother with two kids who were once Sandy Hook students. "For them to use that day to promote their agenda, it's completely inappropriate in my opinion."
Event organizers say they fear gun control advocates will use the day to push their beliefs so they want to counter that; to "show America that there is a good side to guns."
"We are certainly aware that it's going to hit a raw nerve with a lot of people," said Dave Workman, with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a co-sponsor of the event. "I think that possibly is one of the reasons we chose the day -- to make sure that people understand that, while what happened last year was a horrible tragedy, there are many good things people do with firearms."
"My Facebook lit up on it. It's sadness, more than anything else," said Ralph Fascitelli with Washington Cease Fire, a gun control advocacy group. "Is there no line of common decency?"
Fascitelli called the event politically-motivated and publicity-driven.
"Here, it's the most poignant first anniversary and gun groups are stomping on that," Fascitelli said. "It stomps on the sensitivities of certainly the Sandy Hook parents and any parent in America who can empathize with them. It's incredible insensitive."
Murray - the vice chair of the grassroots Newtown Action Alliance - said the group wasn't advocating any political agenda for the first anniversary of the shooting but rather encouraging people to participate in a day of service or perform random acts of kindness.
"We feel it's a day of remembrance. It's one of the most horrific tragedies that has happened in America," she said. "Particularly on the anniversary date, (to do that) I think it's completely inappropriate and insensitive."