Newtown, Connecticut, looks a lot like every other town in New England, and on the surface, nothing belies that it was home to one of the most brutal massacres in U.S. history. Yet, five years ago, a gunman went into the town’s Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six teachers.

In the wake of the massacre, parents decided that they needed to help stop tragedies like theirs from happening to other people.

“I very soon after realized I had a responsibility and accepted this mission to devote the rest of my life to do everything that I can to prevent that from happening to another family, to prevent another family from having to live this pain,” Mark Barden told International Business Times. “At the end of the day, we were looking for a way that we could be effective. We just wanted to save lives.”

Barden lost his son Daniel, who was only 7-years-old. Barden, along with some of the other parents who lost their children, founded Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization aimed a curbing gun violence.

Nicole Hockley serves as one of the founding directors of Sandy Hook Promise. She lost her son Dylan, who was six.

“Newtown is at the epicenter of the massive ripple effect that’s come out of the shooting at Sandy Hook School,” Hockley told IBT. “We already had our tragedy. Our job is to prevent it from happening elsewhere.”

The organization released a public service video this week titled “Tomorrow’s News.” It depicts a local news report detailing a shooting set to happen at a school the next day. It urges people to look for signs of a potential school shooting and to report them.

“We’re a little bit more educated here in Newtown in terms of what these tragedies feel like and why we don’t want them to happen elsewhere." said Hockley. "So, a lot of our programs are focused on everywhere outside of Newtown.",” said Hockley.

Another organization that grew out of the Newtown shooting was Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense. Its founder, Shannon Watts, was horrified by the shooting.

“I’m a mom of five and I was so outraged and so angry and so sad, that I felt I had to do something,” Watts told IBT. “And what happened was, so many women and moms had the exact same idea that day. And in the following weeks and months, we grew from an online conversation to an offline movement.”

Hockley said that the goal of their organization is to help prevent gun violence upstream, before people ever pick up a gun. They feel in some way they have gained traction. Since the group’s inception seven states, including Connecticut, have passed laws that have made more stringent background checks for purchasing guns. In other ways, they feel discouraged.

“With increasing frequency, we see these horrendous mass shootings happening. And yeah, it feels, I feel defeated. I feel discouraged, I feel profound sadness for those families, because I know what it feels like,” said Hockley.

In the past few months alone, two of the deadliest mass shootings in recent United States history have occurred. On Oct. 1, a gunman killed 58 people and injured more than 500 when he opened fire at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas.The shooter, in that case, used a “bump stock,” which modifies a one bullet per trigger-pull rifle to shoot faster. Several congressmen promised national legislation on the modification, but none has come. Some states have taken up the action themselves.

On Nov. 5, a shooter walked into First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and gunned down 26 people including a pregnant woman and baby who was 1 and a half.

As of November this year, there have been 1,552 mass shootings, with at least 1,767 people killed since Sandy Hook, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive compiled by Vox. A mass shooting defined as four or more people, not including the shooter, shot in the same general location and time.

Watts said that their advocacy is often misunderstood by people who think they want to take their guns away. She said the National Rifle Association (NRA), a guns lobbying group, has bred mistrust.

“We are not anti-gun, but we are definitely anti-NRA lobbyist,” said Watts. “And the gun lobby has really cultivated these gun extremists. They’ve made them really afraid that their guns are going to get taken away...erroneously, no one is trying to take anyone’s guns away. But you know, women and moms, we’re afraid our children are going to get taken away.”

Despite the resistance and setbacks, Barden believes that they have already made an impact.

“The work that we’re doing at Sandy Hook promise is saving lives. I have to remind myself that we have prevented school shootings,” he said.

The NRA had not yet responded to IBT's request for comment.

Lynn and Christopher McDonnell, the parents of seven-year-old Grace McDonnell, grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary after learning their daughter was one of 20 school children and six adults killed after a gunman opened fire inside the school in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. A heavily armed gunman opened fire on school children and staff at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, killing at least 26 people, including 20 children, in the latest in a series of shooting rampages that have tormented the United States this year. Adrees Latif/REUTERS