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Conn. shooting families balancing grief, advocacy

If and when they choose to speak out, few will have more powerful voices in the national gun-control debate than the families of the Newtown shooting victims.

 

Since their loved ones were killed last month, the families have met with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and many have been in touch with local groups created in response to the tragedy. While one mother wants a say in Washington, people close to other families say the pain is still too raw to enter the realm of advocacy.

 

John Engel, whose cousin's daughter was killied says his family is not looking to make a political statement or looking to change the world.

 

As the families weigh whether and how to get involved, they are feeling their way through a swirl of offers and invitations.

 

White House officials are reaching out through a grass-roots group in Newtown.  The group, Sandy Hook Promise, was formerly known as Newtown United. It said Friday that it has invited victim family members to an event next week to unveil an initiative to prevent similar tragedies.

 

Alexis Haller says the Pozner family has ideas to share and wants to be part of the discussion about the response to the tragedy.  Haller said an assistant to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told him that the White House had been trying to consult with the families but that their efforts were rebuffed by a group purporting to speak for them. A White House spokesman confirmed that but declined to name the group.

 

Newtown first selectman Pat Llodra says the town is planning private gatherings with the families to hear their thoughts on what should be done with the Sandy Hook school building.

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