One year after shooting in Newtown, gun control advocates continue fight

(WJLA) - Despite little action in Congress, advocates of tougher laws on guns continue to fight.

On the anniversary of the Newtown school shooting, about two dozen people rang bells at Canal Park in Southeast Washington.

The bells rang for about 33 seconds, which advocates say is the number of people who die daily because of gun shot wounds.

Juanita Coghill's son, Henry Kelly, is one of those victims.

"It just saddens me that my son and I'm sure other moms have to go through this in the District of Columbia because they have lost their child," Coghill said, while holding a flyer with details on her son's murder.

Kelly was shot and killed in Southeast Washington back in 2011. His murder remains unsolved.

He was killed with illegal guns, Coghill said.

"A lot of crime is happening in the District of Columbia because of illegal guns," she added.

Joining Coghill at the small event were survivors from the Virginia Tech and Tucson shootings.

"A moment of silence is important but it's nothing without action. So we're here today to say let's remember and then act," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an organization which started the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.

Since the shooting, there has been little accomplished in Congress regarding gun legislation.

In January, President Obama urged Congress to take quick action.

Families of the Newtown victims lobbied on Capitol Hill.

The gun industry, led by the National Rifle Association, countered with an equally intense effort. They focused on Democrats from conservative states who are up for re-election in 2014.

Then in April, there was a bipartisan deal on a scaled-back measure to expand background checks. The bill fell short of the needed 60 votes to pass in the Senate.

Despite the fact that nothing significant is happening on Capitol Hill, those pushing for tougher gun laws, say there is a lot happening at the state and local level.

"We made great strides in the states in passing states like Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, California," Watts said.