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Newtown shooting: 6 months later

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People gather during a ceremony on the six-month anniversary honoring the 20 children and six adults gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Dec. 14, 2012 at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Conn., Friday, June 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) People gather during a ceremony on the six-month anniversary honoring the 20 children and six adults gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Dec. 14, 2012 at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Conn., Friday, June 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Hundreds gathered in Newtown Friday morning with a 26 second moment of silence remembering the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings. A sister of teacher Victoria Soto told the crowd the pain of the deaths has been excruciating but said the community's support has helped.

Six months after the Newtown school shooting, the tragedy will be marked with a moment of silence, the reading of thousands of names of gun violence victims and calls around the country to pass legislation expanding background checks for gun purchases.

Family members, elected officials and other leaders will gather in Newtown Friday for a day of remembrance and a call to action. The reading of names is expected to take 12 hours.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns will launch a bus tour that will travel to 25 states over 100 days to build support for background checks legislation. Legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers failed in the Senate in April.

The mayors group is also holding events in 10 states calling for lawmakers to expand background checks and urging senators who opposed the bill to reconsider. Those events, which include gun violence survivors and gun owners, will be held in Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The gunman in Newtown killed his mother and then 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 before committing suicide as police arrived.

Some of the victims' families are in Washington this week lobbying lawmakers for action.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who co-founded the mayor's group, this week sent out a letter asking donors not to support Democratic senators who opposed the bill to expand background checks.

On the other side of the debate, the National Rifle Association is targeting Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who co-sponsored the bill to expand background checks, with a TV ad urging viewers to phone Manchin's office and tell him "to honor his commitment to the 2nd Amendment." The NRA plans to spend $100,000 airing the ad in West Virginia markets over the next two weeks.

AP-WF-06-14-13 0645GMT

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