For five years, Sandy Hook shooting survivor Leslie Gunn said, she and others in Connecticut have been advocating for stricter national controls on guns, with little effect.
But Gunn sees something different brewing after last month’s massacre in Parkland, Florida – teens leading the charge – and she said she thinks they’re being heard.
She traveled down to Washington for Saturday’s March for Our Lives to support them.
“If they’re the voice, the adults need to get on board with them and follow them, because they’re speaking the truth,” Gunn told CNN on her way Saturday morning to the midday rally. “They live in the schools. They know what it’s like. They’ve grown up with this.”
Gunn was an art teacher at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown when a gunman burst into the building in December 2012 and massacred 20 children and six adults. Her classroom was spared, and she guided her 23 fourth-graders into a storage room as gunshots rang out, and tried to comfort them until police arrived, she told the Hartford Courant back then.
At Saturday’s march, she said she hopes the movement that Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students started continues to gain influence.
“We (in Newtown) lost 20 children and six adults, 154 bullets in 5 minutes, and nothing was done,” she said. “And we had voices and we advocated. … But if these (Parkland) kids now can make the voice that makes the change, we have to do this.
“There’s something here going on that just makes me want to just hug kids and thank them,” Gunn added.
Gunn said she thinks about the slain Sandy Hook children every day.
“They were amazing human beings that brought life and a spark of life, and this is a way to honor them, for sure,” she said. “But it’s also our responsibility to make the change that we can make.
“And for anybody to not get it, it’s just beyond comprehension … it’s the value of life. What else is there?”
CNN’s Sunlen Serfaty reported from Washington, and CNN’s Jason Hanna wrote in Atlanta.