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Sandy Hook shooting families to renew gun bill efforts

WASHINGTON -- Six months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, some of the victims' families are heading to Capitol Hill to remind lawmakers they are painfully waiting for action, while some of the president's allies are asking him to do more, even with no new prospects of legislation to toughen gun laws.

The lobbying visit Tuesday and Wednesday is one of several efforts gun control proponents have planned for the half-year observance of the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 first graders and six school staff members in Newtown, Conn. The Sandy Hook families and other activists are keeping pressure on lawmakers to expand background checks for firearm sales, despite Senate rejection of the measure in April and no indication votes have shifted.

Meanwhile, officials in Newtown say their school system was placed on lockdown briefly Monday after someone made a threatening phone call to a school.

Interim schools superintendent John Reed says the threat was implied in a call to Hawley Elementary School, which is less than 2 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary. The lockdown ended when schools dismissed for the day.

Nicole Hockley, who lost 6-year-old son, Dylan, at Sandy Hook, said their family's pain has only become worse as time goes by without the younger of their two sons at home. She said the fight for new laws, which they've also taken to several states, has left them emotionally exhausted, but they won't give up "no matter how long it takes."

"It is very disappointing that six months have passed, and although we are making progress in individual states, we aren't making progress on the federal level when it comes to background checks when an overwhelming number of Americans support it," she said in a telephone interview.

Gun control advocates also are anticipating further action from President Barack Obama, who said he would do everything he could to stem gun violence even without Congress.


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