Four Sandy Hook survivors tell of being ‘retriggered’ by school shootings like Uvalde

Student suvivors spoke out publicly for first time in aftermath of last month’s shooting in Texas

<p>Mourners gather following the Sandy Hook school shooting</p>

Mourners gather following the Sandy Hook school shooting

Four student survivors of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut ten years ago spoke out publicly for the first time — tellingABC NewsThis Week about how the school shooting in Uvalde last month has sparked new feelings of anxiety, sadness, and anger.

““I couldn’t handle it,” one student, Nicole, told ABC’s Martha Raddatz. “You hear about other shootings and it breaks you. But the fact that it was the exact same thing completely re-triggered me and my anxiety.”

The four students, who were in second and third grades when they survived the shooting at their elementary school in December, 2012, all now attend Newtown High School. One of the students, Maggie, is set to graduate in the coming days.

The horror of the Sandy Hook shooting, in which a gunman killed 26 people, legislators and activists launched a major push for gun control at the state and federal level.

Connecticut instituted mandatory background checks, banned the sale of high-capacity magazines, and broadened the classification of assault weapons to more than 150 models. But the federal government, despite the strong support of President Barack Obama, failed to pass any comprehensive reform legislation. In the decade since, the US has seen hundreds of mass shootings — a number of which, like last month’s shooting Uvalde, have targeted schools.

“It makes me angry, because it doesn’t have to keep happening,” said Jacob, a library clerk who also spoke to ABC News over the weekend. “And the fact that we saw what happened at Sandy Hook, and we saw how many children died, and how affected the survivors were, and how the ripple effects of gun violence affect so many people. And we still act like we don’t know how to solve the problem.”

Indeed, the US has long had considerably looser gun laws and more gun violence and mass shootings than comparitor countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia. A majority of Americans support stricter gun control measures, with support for such measures hitting its highest point in a decade in the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting.

Other countries have moved decisively to curb gun violence in the aftermath of mass shootings. Between 1996 and 1997, for example, Australia instituted a mandatory gun buy back programme and collected 650,000 guns from citizens. Rates of murder and suicide in the country have dropped significantly since.

In the aftermath of the shooting in Texas last month, Congress is moving towards passing signficant new gun control measures for the first time in decades — though there is no plan to ban or confiscate any of the millions of guns in cirrculation in the US or raise the age requirement to buy one.

The bipartisan Senate plan led by senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, would close the so-called Boyfriend Loophole so that no person convicted of abusing their partner can buy a weapon, enhance background checks for gun buyers under 21 years of age, and provide billions of dollars in funding to schools for mental health and safety measures and funding to states to help them implement crisis intervention orders.

“Will this bill do everything we need to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic? No,” Mr Murphy wrote in a tweet on Sunday. “But it’s real, meaningful progress.”

For the young people Mr Murphy represents in Connecticut who survived the Sandy Hook shooting, the trauma of what they experienced is refreshed every time another shooting happens.

“It just really broke me to know that after 10 years of everyone giving us their thoughts and prayers, after 10 years of everyone saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ and, ‘Never again after Sandy Hook’ — it happened again,” Maggie said.

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