By STEVE PEOPLES
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Having already lost her 6-year-old son, Nicole Hockley insisted she won’t lose the fight to reduce gun violence — no matter how long it takes.
She is among a group of “accidental activist” parents brought together one year ago by almost unthinkable grief after the Newtown school massacre. The shootings were so horrific many predicted they would force Congress to approve long-stalled legislation to tighten the nation’s gun laws.
They did not.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll found 52 percent of Americans favor stricter gun laws, while 31 percent want them left as they are and 15 percent said they should be loosened. But the strength of the support for tighter controls dropped since January, when 58 percent said gun laws should be tightened and just 5 percent felt they were too strong.
After a year of personal suffering and political frustration, Hockley and other Newtown parents are fighting to stay optimistic as their effort builds a national operation backed by an alliance of well-funded organizations working to pressure Congress ahead of next fall’s elections.
The groups are sending dozens of paid staff into key states, enlisting thousands of volunteer activists and preparing to spend tens of millions of dollars against politicians who stand in the way of their goals.