Carlee Soto's sister Victoria Soto was shot and killed while shielding her students from gunfire during the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook School in December 2012. She wrote this essay for NBC News' THINK opinion section:
Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, my family has been forced to find a new normal in our life. I can’t call my sister for advice or see her relish being an aunt to my son. All I can do is remember the good times we had — at Christmas and throughout the year. But I’ve also taken on a new role throughout the years: advocating for common-sense gun laws that will help save lives.
I’ve become intimately aware of our nation’s gun laws. I’ve met other survivors of gun violence as part of the Everytown Survivor Network and shared my story with members of Congress, urging them to take action to close the gaping loopholes in our nation’s gun laws. I remember the disappointment and outrage when legislation in Congress to close the background check loophole failed to become law in 2013. But I’ve learned that change happens over time and since 2012, a groundswell of Americans has gotten more engaged in the fight for gun safety.
Still, it’s astonishing to me to learn that last week — just days before we mark five years since the day Vicki was shot and killed in her classroom — gun lobby-backed members of in the House voted in favor of legislation that would gut our states’ gun laws. The gun lobby’s number one priority — known as “concealed carry reciprocity” — would override the standards that states have set for who can carry hidden, loaded guns in public.