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New Sandy Hook group calls for 'national conversation,' takes no position on gun control

One month after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a group of Newtown, Conn., citizens launched a nonprofit group — Sandy Hook Promise — in an effort to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

A grassroots organization called Sandy Hook Promise called Monday for a "national conversation" about guns, school safety and mental health at a press conference that was full of emotion but short on specifics.


"We do not have any views at this moment," said Tim Makris, one of 17 co-founders of the group launched after the Dec. 14  massacre in Newtown, Conn. "There's going to become a moment in time when we're going to take those positions."

That time may be fast approaching.

Vice President Biden has briefed President Obama on his task force's recommendations on guns and mental health, and the president gave a preview Monday, backing an assault-weapons ban and a limit on high-capacity magazines.

Parents of four of the 20 children slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School spoke touchingly about their personal loss and their hope to prevent more mass shootings, without weighing on proposals that were already being discussed in Washington and elsewhere.

Nicole Hockley said that a month after her 6-year-old son Dylan was killed, she still expects to feel his hand reach for hers in a parking lot, or have him crawl into bed with her.

She said she has met with families shattered by other massacres: Columbine, Aurora and Virginia Tech.

"I do not want to be someone sharing my experience and consoling another parent next time," she said. "I do not want there to be a next time."

Hockley and the other speakers said they had no concrete solutions to offer -- yet. But they urged people around the nation to make the group's "promise" to talk about how to make communities safer and ensure it happens.

"It is our responsibility to be outraged," said Jeremy Richman, father of 6-year-old victim Avielle, who has started a foundation to support scientific mental health research. "It is our responsibility to take action."

Co-founder Tom Bittman said some leaders of the group are gun owners but that they are "not afraid of a national conversation" about firearms regulation.

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The second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history left 20 children and six staff members dead at Sandy Hook Elementary.