Newtown Action Alliance Statement on the Deadly Shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

For Immediate Release
October 28, 2018

John Kelley


Newtown Action Alliance Statement on the Deadly Shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

Newtown, CT - Po Murray, Chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance, released the following statement in response to yet another tragic mass shooting incident in the United States of America:

We send our love, support and prayers to the families, first responders and community members who have been impacted by the heartbreaking deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this morning. 

 The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting was an act of domestic terrorism. This hate crime was the second mass shooting incident in a house of worship since the Las Vegas shooting and the 295th mass shooting incident in America since January 1, 2018. Donald Trump’s rhetoric is enabling white supremacists in America. He enabled the neo-nazis in Charlottesville by calling them “fine people” and called immigrants “animals,” “not people.” He used anti-Semitic language to target George Soros just days after a pipe bomb assassination attempt. 

Easy access to weapons of war made it easy for an anti-Semitic, racist gunman filled with rage and hate to kill 11 innocent people and wound six others in a short period of time. Four police officers were shot trying to stop one gunman armed with an AR-15. 

The senseless shooting of twenty children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School should have been enough for all elected leaders to pass common sense state and federal gun control legislation including a ban on assault weapons. Assault weapons have been the weapons of choice for mass murderers in Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino, Umpqua Community College, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, Sante Fe and now the Tree of Life Synagogue. 

Senators Pat Toomey, Bob Casey and Representative Mike Doyle represent the Squirrel Hill community in Pittsburgh. While Senator Casey and Representative Doyle have supported strong federal gun violence prevention policies including an assault weapons ban, Senator Toomey voted against the assault weapons ban in 2013 after the Sandy Hook tragedy. 

Until more Americans hold their local, state and federal elected representatives accountable, our children and families will not be safe anywhere in America. Donald Trump and the majority of Republican members of the 115thCongress who take money from the NRA refuse to take action to reduce mass shootings and everyday gun violence. They continue to ignore America’s weak gun laws and suggest that arming more Americans is the answer. If 300 million civilian-owned guns cannot stop gun violence in America, then more guns is not the answer. Any elected officials who only send thoughts and prayers after this mass shooting incident are willing to sacrifice our children and families to protect the gun industry profits and they should be voted out in 2018 and 2020.

Since the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy, over 600,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns and mass shooting incidents have escalated. Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed by guns than people from other industrialized nations. We know that our elected leaders can do more to end gun violence in America. State legislators and governors can pass laws similar to the ones passed in Connecticut after the Sandy Hook tragedy and Congress can pass the following gun control measures:

  1.  Background checks on all gun sales

  2. Close the Charleston loophole or “delayed denial” where federally licensed dealers can sell guns if three business days pass without a verdict from the FBI

  3. Restrict and penalize firearm possession by or transfer to a person subject to a domestic violence protection order or a person (including dating partners) convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor

  4. Prohibit firearm sale or transfer to and receipt or possession by an individual who has: (1) been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor hate crime, or (2) received from any court an enhanced hate crime misdemeanor sentence

  5. Mandatory waiting period for gun purchases

  6. Red flag/gun violence restraining order/extreme risk protection order to temporarily prohibit an individual deemed by a judge to pose a danger to self or others, from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession

  7. Handgun permitting, licensing, training, and registration

  8. Ban bump-fire stocks and other dangerous accessories

  9. Ban future manufacture and sale of assault weapons, regulate existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act of 1934, and initiate a federal gun buyback program

  10. Limits on high capacity magazines

  11. Prohibit open carry

  12. Make gun trafficking a federal crime

  13. Repeal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to eliminate the corporate gun industry special protection from civil justice law that no other industry enjoys

  14. Fund government research on gun violence

  15. Child access prevention/safe storage requirement

  16. Provide resources for people with mental illness

  17.  Microstamped code on each bullet that links it to a specific gun

  18. “Smart guns” with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or biometric recognition (fingerprint) capability

  19. Limit gun purchases to one gun per month to reduce trafficking and straw purchases

  20. Require licensing for ammunition dealers

  21. Enhance accountability of federally licensed firearms dealers

  22. Digitize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gun records

  23. Raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21

  24. Ban 3D and ghost guns

  25. Prohibit guns in schools and college campuses

  26. Report lost and stolen guns 


Newtown Action Alliance ( is a Newtown-based, national grassroots organization formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Our mission is to achieve the steady and continuous reduction of gun violence through legislative and cultural changes.