Francine Wheeler’s six-year-old son Ben was one of 20 children killed in the December 14th attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Since the tragedy, Francine, her husband David, and other Newtown families have worked to urge state and national lawmakers to pass meaningful, comprehensive gun control legislation, and to encourage citizens to come together for a national conversation about making our communities safer. Their work helped convince Connecticut’s government to pass the strongest gun control law in the country in April 2013. The law bans the sale and purchase of high-capacity magazines like those used in the Sandy Hook shooting.
On April 13, Francine was invited to give the President’s Weekly Address in lieu of President Obama. In the address, she spoke about her son and urged Americans to talk to their Senators about passing gun control reform. The Wheelers were among Newtown parents who flew with President Obama on Air Force One to speak with members of Congress about gun control legislation, specifically to enforce mandatory background checks on purchases of firearms at gun shows and online.
They also work closely with Sandy Hook Promise, a nationwide group founded by Newtown friends and neighbors to heal the hurt, and open new avenues of communication and action against the scourge of gun violence in the United States.
A music teacher, singer and a founder of the children’s music group the Dream Jam Band, Wheeler performed in a free concert with folksinger Peter Yarrow, which was attended by families who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook and other members of the Newtown community.