Sandy Hook mom reaches out to Marysville, joins push for Wash. gun law

Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan died at Sandy Hook, was in Seattle to support a gun control measure and offer words of comfort to the victims of last week's Marysville shooting.

By Gabrielle Levy
Sandy Hook mom reaches out to Marysville, joins push for Wash. gun law
President Barack Obama embraces Nicole Hockley, who lost a son in the Sandy Hook shootings, after he delivered a statement on the Senate's failure to pass a measure to expanded gun background checks, at the White House on April 17, 2013 in Washington, D.C. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

SEATTLE, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The mother of one of the Sandy Hook shooting victims has lent her voice to supporting Washington state's effort to mandate universal background checks for all gun purchases.

Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was shot and killed in the December 2012 massacre, traveled to Seattle this week to support Initiative 594, which would require every person purchasing a gun, including through private sales, to undergo a background check.


Hockley, 43, is a member of Sandy Hook Promise, a group working to stop gun violence, and has traveled the country advocating for stricter gun laws.

"I've committed my life to this," Hockley told volunteers gathered at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, who spent the evening making calls to encourage voters to support I-594. "It does not get easier."

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Her trip just happened to coincide with the aftermath of yet another school shooting, this time in Washington.

Hockley said she had a message for the newly grieving Marysville community, whose lives were rocked when a student at Marysville Pilchuck high school shot five of his peers and then himself.


"Even just thinking about it now, I can feel my heart start to accelerate," she said. "It still shocks me and sends me right back to the terror and anxiety that I felt then, and knowing what these kids are going through and what parents are going through."

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She said she has learned that the pain of losing a child to gun violence never fully heals, but told the Marysville community not to shy away from reaching out.

"Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be afraid to receive help," she said. "The shock, when it eventually starts to wear off, can be replaced by a despair so deep you don't even quite realize it until it's right on you."

Hockley and Sandy Phillips, whose daughter was killed when a gunman opened fire in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in August 2012, knocked on doors with other volunteers on Tuesday night. Their hope was to help voters understand the difference between I-594 and the other gun-related measure on the ballot, Initiative 591.

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I-591 would ban any background checks more extensive than what is required by federal law -- a direct contradiction to I-594. Voters won't have to choose between the two measures on election day, and officials say they aren't sure what would happen if both were to pass.


Gun advocates warn I-594 could criminalize law abiding gun owners who share their guns with others during firearms safety classes or those who loan their guns to friends.

According to an Elway Poll conducted earlier this month, I-594 is on track to pass by a double-digit margin. The other measure, I-591, initially polled well, but the same Elway survey found voters opposed to the measure, 44 percent to 39 percent, with 17 percent undecided.

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