This week marks the five-year anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 20 first-graders and six school staff were murdered. Also this week, I received an automated text and later an email from my sons’ elementary school, notifying me that a “lockdown drill” had taken place in collaboration with the local police department. During these lockdown drills, students practice hiding in their classrooms from a threat.

My children, like children throughout Maine and the rest of the country, regularly practice these drills. Public safety and school administration officials are doing their best to ensure our children survive. However, our government has neglected to take any substantial steps to protect our children from gun violence.

Each time I receive the notification from my children’s school, I feel sick; I am devastated that my children are growing up in a time during which someone could murder them while they are doing something as mundane as sitting in a classroom at school.

In 2016, Maine voters failed to pass a referendum requiring background checks for private gun sales or transfer. Earlier this year, L.D. 9, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Patrick Corey of Windham, was signed into law by Gov. LePage, prohibiting a government firearms registry. How will this prevent another Sandy Hook? How will this keep our children safe? We can do better, and we owe it to this generation to find a solution.

Jen VanDerburgh