House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
“No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School or describe the pain and shock of such an unspeakable tragedy. No words can comfort the loved ones of those brutally taken from us today. All Americans share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events.
“We are all stunned, shocked, and distraught by this tragic shooting, by this violent act, and by the loss of so many young children. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the students, teachers, and educators killed and wounded in Newtown, Connecticut. The entire nation will continue to stand as a source of support to this community in the days and weeks to come.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer:
My heart breaks over this senseless tragedy that took so many innocent lives. My prayers go out to their families and to all those who were injured. This touches us all so deeply, and it is long past time that we enacted sensible gun laws and school safety legislation.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein:
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Reports indicate at least 26 people—including 18 children—were killed in what may be the worst school shooting in U.S. history.
“I am horrified and incensed by today’s tragedy in Connecticut. These massacres don’t seem to stop—they continue on and on.
“When senseless mass shootings reach into our kindergartens and elementary schools, one has to question what is happening to America. Gun violence took the lives of more than 8,000 Americans last year, and today claimed the lives of at least 18 children.
“As I have said many times before—and now repeat in the wake of yet another tragedy—weapons of war don’t belong on our streets or in our theaters, shopping malls and, most of all, our schools.
“I hope and trust that in the next session of Congress there will be sustained and thoughtful debate about America’s gun culture and our responsibility to prevent more loss of life.”
“But today we mourn for those who have been killed and the families that have been devastated.”
Mayor Ed Lee:
Mayor Edwin M. Lee and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Superintendent Richard A. Carranza today issued the following joint statement in the wake of one of the deadliest school shootings in United States history at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut:
“San Francisco grieves with those affected by the needless and horrifying violence this morning in Connecticut. Our thoughts, prayers and deep sympathy go out to the families of the children and other victims of this unspeakable tragedy.
There is little we can say with our words to provide comfort to those affected, but we can move forward with purpose to do everything we can to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.
In the wake of such a national tragedy, we redouble our efforts to work together to ensure that our students, families and school staff remain safe.”
The City and SFUSD district are working closely together to immediately respond to schools and provide support needed in the event of any school crisis. All SFUSD schools have a safety plan that is updated annually and schools have been trained to implement these plans at their sites.
School staff is prepared to help students who may be reacting to the tragedy and need support. SFUSD schools remain open. The Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Police Department are providing support to the schools. Families who would like support are encouraged to reach out to resources available at school sites and in the City. For more information about resources, residents should contact 311 at any time.
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated in Newtown, Connecticut, Mayor Lee in accordance with President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation has ordered that flags on all City grounds and buildings be flown at half-staff.
State Sen. Leland Yee:
“As a father, child psychologist, and legislator, my thoughts and prayers go out to the children and families of Newtown. In a year with so many appalling acts of gun violence, this is the most shocking of such tragedies. While we do not have all the details behind this senseless and unconscionable massacre, it is a sad and horrific reminder of what is possible when guns get into the wrong hands. We must limit access to weapons that can result in such catastrophe and mass murder.”
Lee told KQED’s Mina Kim today:
“The state of CA, we have a ban on assault weapons that is crystal clear … Unfortunately, there’s been loopholes found to circumvent that particular ban. And in the state of California now, you can in fact own a modified assault weapon.”
Oakland Unified School District:
From KQED’s Aarti Shahani:
Oakland Unified School District is in the process of sending a letter to parents with advice on how to speak with their kids about the tragedy.
Spokesman Troy Flint says with about 20 school-aged children shot and killed annually in Oakland, there’s a regular system in place. Police are on heightened alert.
“And our counselors are on site. They’re always on alert. I think what you need to understand is that we cope with violence on a daily basis here. So we have these procedures in place on the regular.”
Flint says there’s no foolproof solution so long as guns are so readily available.
Rep. Mike Honda:
“Earlier today, another horrific gun tragedy struck our nation as innocent men, women, and children were senselessly shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. My prayers are with the victims, their families and friends, and the communities impacted by today’s terrifying events.
“As an educator for 30 years, I know firsthand the importance of making a school a safe place where children can grow and learn. Having that sense of safety ripped from us, again, is both shocking and jarring. It is difficult to imagine what it feels like to be a parent that has outlived their child or to be part of a family inexplicably left with a gaping hole in their hearts. While exact details still remain unclear, there is no doubt that today is a somber day. A close-knit community, like countless communities all around our country, was violently attacked, and we will continue to feel the shocks of this violence for some time.
“This event, much like the numerous other shootings earlier this year, will undoubtedly lead to difficult discussions about safety, public policy and emergency preparedness. This self-reflection is natural, and it is my hope that we can finally take action to address the root causes of these horrific tragedies together, as a nation.”
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:
For those calling for the postponement of any discussion of gun and mental health policy in America – you are wrong.
We postponed after the President and his press secretary, James Brady were shot more than 30 years ago. We postponed after the tragedy in Columbine 13 years ago. We postponed after Virginia Tech five years ago. We postponed after Representative Gabriel Giffords was shot in 2011. We postponed in July when a mentally disturbed James Eagan Holmes opened fire in a crowded movie theatre. And earlier this week, people said it was too soon to talk about gun and mental health policy when a gunman opened fire at a crowded mall in Oregon.
Today, President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House briefing room named for James Brady and now we turn to our political leaders to finally and decisively act.
Prayers are important. We are a nation that always prays at times of great tragedy. But prayer is not enough as we learn in James 2 14-26, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works…Faith without works is dead.”
Today is a clarion call to all leaders, regardless of political party, to act purposefully. Senseless gun violence is not simply about gun control. It must also include meaningful discussion of mental health policy in America. Political parties must be realistic – Democrats can’t draw the line in the sand at banning all guns and Republicans can’t dig in on the status quo.
The NRA and the gun lobby are not supportive the President and now is the time for him to give them a real reason. The President must call the question. Put the gun lobby on the bench. Call on every member of congress to step out from behind the money and power of the gun lobby and act before we are lulled back into a false sense of security and forget to have the conversation again until the next tragedy. There are families in Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia, California, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin and every other state that have suffered loss due to gun violence and they do not want a postponement this debate any longer.
How many more people have to die before we decide the time is right to have this debate and take action? Now is a time for prayer…and leadership.