Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2023

CONTACT: Eric Schmeltzer



On 11-Year Mark of Sandy Hook, Ad calling for reform of gun laws debuts

Testing Shows Ability to Move GOP Voters By Nearly Five Points

AUSTIN, TX – A coalition of groups, led by Mothers for Democracy, is unveiling a new one-minute online ad today that shows the ability to move Republican support for an assault weapons ban by nearly five points in testing. The ad is being released now, as today is 11 years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

The powerful ad, which is also sponsored by Newtown Action Alliance, Lives Robbed, and Change the Ref features a small girl drowning in a pool, while adults all around her watch and only offer “thoughts and prayers.”

The ad can be viewed here:

In testing done by the online opinion testing firm Swayable, the ad increases support for an Assault Weapons Ban across all demographics, but notably with registered Republicans, who increase their support for such a law by 4.8 points, after viewing the ad.

“Support for common-sense gun laws is strong already across the political spectrum, but this ad moves even more voters into the support column,” said Nancy Thompson, President of Mothers for Democracy. “It has been eleven years since the nation was rocked to its core by the mass shooting of little children and their teachers, and yet there has been no meaningful reform – only more mass shootings. Thoughts and prayers haven’t ended them, and they never will. We need action.”

“In the eleven years since Sandy Hook, no significant federal gun violence prevention legislation has passed,” said Kimberly Mata-Rubio, President of Lives Robbed. “Our loved ones continue to die in classrooms, movie theaters, grocery stores, places of worship. Thoughts and prayers won’t bring our children back but action will save lives and honor their memory.”

“December 14, 2012 is the 11-year-mark of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting tragedy when my 20-year-old neighbor used an AR-15 and high capacity magazines to brutally murder 20 children and six educators. It’s abhorrent that guns are now the number one killer of American children and teens and too many members of Congress, governors, and state legislators do nothing but send thoughts and prayers,” said Po Murray, Chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance. “Thoughts and prayers for over a decade haven’t saved a single life. It’s long past time for all elected officials to prioritize the lives of American children by passing a set of comprehensive gun control laws – including an Assault Weapons Ban and Ethan’s Law to keep kids safe from unsecured guns.”

“Thoughts and prayers represent the highest level of inaction from our representatives. It is time to call out that inaction by using graphic content capable of explaining the absurdity behind America’s gun violence carnage,” said Manny Oliver, Co-Founder of Change The Ref.

Mothers for Democracy is a new, national organization of moms dedicated to speaking out on core issues facing American families throughout the 2024 election cycle and beyond. The group will run issue advocacy campaigns around common-sense gun safety, quality public schools, climate action, LGBTQI+ rights, and protection of voting rights. It is a non-profit 501 (c)(4) affiliated with Mothers Against Greg Abbott.

Newtown Action Alliance is a grassroots national gun violence prevention organization formed after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It works to make America’s children, families, and all citizens safer through legislative and cultural change that will reduce gun violence in our nation. ​​​​​​​

Lives Robbed was formed by the families of the children murdered at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX. We honor their legacies by fighting to reduce gun violence, through legislative changes, at the state and federal levels.

Change the Ref (CTR) was formed by parents of Joaquin Oliver who was killed in Parkland, to amplify and support youth efforts and movement building. They use urban art and non-violent creative confrontation to advocate for the eradication of the gun violence epidemic and to expose elected officials who are bought and paid for by the NRA and gun manufacturers.