Democrats invite Newtown residents to Obama’s State of the Union address

Chris Moody

Democratic lawmakers have invited residents of Newtown, Conn., the place where 26 people were slain during a shooting at an elementary school in December, to attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address on Tuesday in Washington.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced on Friday that she will bring a fourth-grade child from Newtown who launched a petition to change gun laws after the shooting. Pelosi declined to name the child, but said she attends a school near Sandy Hook Elementary, where the mass killing took place. Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro will bring Carlos Soto, the brother of Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto, who was killed in the shooting. Another lawmaker from Connecticut, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, will bring Natalie Hammond, a Sandy Hook teacher who survived after being shot in the leg and foot. Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen also invited a guest affected by gun violence, Maryland woman Carol Price, an anti-gun violence advocate whose son was killed in 1998 by a neighbor with a 9 mm Luger pistol.

The invitations were delivered as part of an effort by Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin, who says he wants to "resensitize” people to the impact of gun tragedies. Langevin has been consigned to a wheelchair since he was 16, when he was accidentally shot in the neck.

The presence of the Newtown residents and others at Obama's address suggests that the president will discuss the topic. Deadly shootings like the one in Newtown last year have encouraged Obama and lawmakers in recent months to pursue new gun control regulations. A Senate bill introduced by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein received its first Judiciary Committee hearing last month.