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New anti-gun ad features Newtown families


More than 100 days since the tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., a pro-gun control group is airing an ad featuring family members of those who died in the shooting.

The ad, released by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, calls for a series of new gun control measures in Connecticut, including comprehensive background checks, a limit high on capacity magazines and an assault weapons ban. Even though the tragedy at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School spurred a nationwide conversation about reducing gun violence, legislation at the state level remains stalled.

The family members in the ad make an impassioned plea for action. "Don't let the memory of Newtown fade without doing something real," says Terri Rousseau, whose daughter Lauren Rousseau was a teacher at Sandy Hook and among the 26 victims of the shooting.

The ad, airing in the Hartford market, also features Lauren's father, Gilles Rousseau; Neil Heslin, father of Jesse Lewis; Chris and Lynn McDonnell, parents of Grace McDonnell; and Jillian Soto, sister of Vicki Soto.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is also pushing for more gun control at the national level. The group was participating in a "day of action" Thursday to rally for support for the issue, and President Obama was hosting law enforcement groups and gun violence victims for an event at the White House.

Support for gun control has waned since the mass shooting last December, raising the question of whether significant reforms are possible. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., next month plans to bring a bill to the Senate floor that will include a proposal to expand background checks for gun purchases. It's unclear, however, whether the bill will win enough support to get past a GOP-led filibuster.

With the fate of Reid's bill uncertain, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee is reportedly working on an alternative piece of legislation that could potentially win more than 60 votes of support. Grassley is opposed to universal background checks, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines and banning assault weapons, but he has expressed support for stricter penalties against "straw purchases" and other measures.