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Newtown Families Featured in New Anti-Gun Ads

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The families of four victims from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., appear in two new anti-gun TV ads out Thursday morning.

The ads are part of an effort to reinvigorate a lagging campaign for new gun controls.

“Don’t let the memory of Newtown fade without doing something real,” says Terri Rousseau, the mother of slain teacher Lauren Rousseau, in an emotionally-charged appeal.

The ads also feature personal testimonials from Neil Heslin, the father of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis; Chris and Lynn McDonnell, the parents of 7-year-old Grace McDonnell; and Jillian Soto, the sister of 27-year-old teacher Vicki Soto.  All talk about their loved ones and what it was like to learn the tragic news on Dec. 14, 2012.

The ads, which will run only in Connecticut, come as that state’s legislature considers state-level gun control measures.  They were produced by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” and released in conjunction with a “National Day to Demand Action” taking place Thursday across the country.  

President Obama’s outside advocacy group -- Organizing for Action -- is also part of the effort.  More than 100 events are planned, organizers said.

At the White House later Thursday morning, Obama will surround himself by victims of gun violence, their families and law enforcement officials to add his voice to the campaign.  The Newtown families appearing in the ads are expected to attend.  

The president and other advocates are still calling for legislation to impose comprehensive background checks, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines, and an assault weapons ban.  But those measures face increasingly tough odds of passage in Congress.  

Earlier this week, three Republican senators threatened to filibuster next month’s expected Senate debate on a package of gun control measures.  The package of reforms does not include an assault weapons ban, though it is expected to get a vote as an amendment to the bill.

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