FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. - Bells tolled and a moment of silence was observed Friday in Newtown on the six-month anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 26 children and teachers.
As volunteers in Newtown read the names of all 6,003 people who have died in gun violence since Dec. 14, lawmakers across the state were speaking about the measures taken in the wake of the tragedy.
“It's hard to imagine that six months have passed since that terrible day,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy. “In that time, we have mourned deeply for those we lost and done our best to move forward in a way that honors their memory."
Malloy also announced an allocation of $750,000 toward the design of a new building for Sandy Hook Elementary School in hopes of moving the project forward quickly.
State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, whose district includes Newtown, said, “On the six-month anniversary of 12/14, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families. I am pleased that the State of Connecticut is contributing to the effort to help Newtown heal and rebuild.”
The Connecticut General Assembly has approved legislation authorizing a separate allocation of up to $50 million in bonding for the school's construction.
"There are many decisions to be made when it comes to the construction of a new school. There will be many challenges along the way," he said. "But it’s my hope that by announcing this funding today, we can help Newtown continue with the healing process. Our thoughts are with those 26 angels today and their families. Their memories will forever be close to our hearts.”
In addition to the legislation to build a new school, Connecticut has passed some of the most stringent gun laws in the country, limiting the magazine capacity, banning assault style weapons and looking toward mental health issues.
"In the six months since tragedy struck Newtown, Congress has shamefully failed to act," U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said in a statement. "In Congress, it’s our responsibility to listen to the will of the people, and the people have spoken time and time again: the time is now for passage of common sense gun legislation. The public has grieved with Newtown families. It has felt pain, anger, and heartache since the massacre on December 14, and it has called for action. Ninety percent of Americans support background checks, and the majority of Americans support a ban on high-capacity magazines."
Congress failed to pass a publicly popular background check law in April.
“I will work with redoubled determination to pass sensible gun violence reforms – inspired by the great educators and beautiful children who perished six months ago, and by all who have pledged that their lives shall not be lost in vein. We are so close – and I hope we can change minds and votes before another six-month anniversary is reached,” U.S. Sen. Richard Bumenthal said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, echoed that sentiment in a statement. “I’m inspired every day by the people of Newtown, and I will continue fighting to ensure they get the vote they deserve.”