Americans have remembered the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre with a moment of silence this morning.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy had called for the state’s residents to observe the moment at 9:30am to mark a week since 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother and then stormed the Newtown school, where he shot to death 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
Malloy’s fellow governors in Maine, Illinois, Michigan and several other states called on residents to follow suit with a moment of silence and rang bells to remember the dead.
The National Cathedral in Washington rang its bell 28 times as part of an interfaith memorial.
‘We have the moral obligation to stand for and with the victims of gun violence and to work to end it,’ said Reverend Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, who called on Americans to pray ‘that we may have courage to act, so that the murderous violence done on Friday may never be repeated.’
The company that operates the Nasdaq stock exchange halted operations to observe a moment of silence at 9:30am, although the market opened trading at that time as usual.
The observances came just before a powerful U.S. gun rights lobbying group plunges into the national debate over gun control.
The National Rifle Association, the largest U.S. gun rights group and one with powerful ties to Washington politicians, is set to begin a media campaign to become part of the gun control debate prompted by the stunning slaughter of 20 children, all 6 or 7 years old.
Laws restricting gun ownership are controversial in the United States, a nation with a strong culture of individual gun ownership. Hundreds of millions of weapons are in private hands.
About 11,100 Americans died in gun-related killings in 2011, not including suicides, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The NRA remained quiet for four days after the Newtown slaughter, citing ‘common decency.’ It released a short statement on Tuesday saying it was ‘prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.’
The group scheduled a news conference for 10:45am today in Washington.
NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre planned to appear on the NBC television talk show ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday.
Some U.S. lawmakers called for swift passage of an assault weapons ban.
‘We have to have a comprehensive way in which to respond to the mass murder of our children that we saw in Connecticut,’ Biden told the group, which included Attorney General Eric Holder, Thomas Nee, president of the National Association of Police Organizations, and other officials.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, used a military-style assault rifle and police said he carried hundreds of bullets in high-capacity magazines, as well as two handguns. The weapons were legally purchased and registered to his mother, Nancy, his first victim.
By Thursday, funeral services had been held for more than half of the 27 people Lanza killed last week.
Newtown school officials said that Friday would be a shortened day for students heading into the Christmas break.
Reflecting a heightened state of alert at schools across the United States, a school district near Boise, Idaho, canceled planned assemblies at a number of its 50 schools after receiving a rash of threats that suggested ‘something bad’ would happen on Friday, Meridian school spokesman Eric Exline said.
Source: The Daily Mail