As House lawmakers listened to the heartbreaking testimony of survivors and loved ones of the victims in the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, defenders gathered near the Capitol for a rally demanding gun action.
Several grassroots organizations focused on fighting armed violence gathered Wednesday for a rally near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, which was joined by prominent political figures in their call to action.
“We will make history by making progress,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, told the crowd outside the Capitol. “We need children to preserve a culture in which they are protected.”
The event was organized by Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit organization that advocates for gun control, along with its networks, including Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action. Speakers included members of Congress, representatives of armed violence prevention organizations, survivors of armed violence, and other supporters and advocates of arms security.
Among those who spoke was Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the leading Democratic senator trying to reach a compromise on gun safety legislation. Murphy met with President Joe Biden on Tuesday as bipartisan talks continue on a gun reform bill.
“Are we going to make sure that every one of my colleagues in the United States Senate hears this move throughout this week and next?” Murphy asked the crowd.
Murphy said he was “amazed” by the reunited group, which was not only made up of advocates but also survivors of shootings and relatives who lost loved ones to armed violence:
“Nowhere else in the world, nowhere else in the world does this happen other than in the United States, nowhere else in the world,” Murphy said. “Nowhere else in the world does a child like me, like my roommate, have to go to school and discuss with their classmates where they are going to hide, where they are going to flee when a shooter enters their building.”
“Nowhere else in the United States is this happening, and we don’t have to accept it,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the speakers at the event “are deeply concerned about making sure this moment is different, making sure this time the answer is ‘nothing’ as it has been too many times throughout our lives.”
“I know we would not be in a position now to achieve a bipartisan commitment to save lives if it were not for you, if it were not for this movement,” he said. “10 years ago, when a tragedy struck Sandy Hook, Connecticut, this movement didn’t exist. We weren’t ready for this moment, the gun lobby beat us here in 2013. This time we have more manpower. We have more volunteers, we have more activists ”.
“I’m just here to tell you that while I’m here today, while we’re working on negotiations with our fellow Republicans, I’m preparing to succeed,” Murphy added. “I’m preparing to save lives, and I wouldn’t be in that position. My colleagues who are going to talk to you next, they wouldn’t be in that position if it weren’t for this move.”
Georgia MP Lucy McBath, who herself lost her son to gun violence in 2012, called the battle against gun violence “the challenge of our lives.”
“We all understand that the murder of our children, the murder of my son, cannot and will not continue in our service,” he said, calling for better background checks and federal red flag laws to help combat the scourge of armed violence.
“I promised my country and my community that I would fight for the rest of my life to make sure no more parents were forced to join us in this growing club of survivors of gun violence,” he said. “I would take all the love and devotion a mother has for her child and give it to you, my community, my friends, to make sure you never experience what I have experienced.”
“These are all practical moments,” he told advocates, adding: “The United States needs your voices … don’t stay out of the way, there’s too much at stake.”
The crowd also learned of Zeneta Everhart, whose 21-year-old son, Zaire Goodman, survived the racist attack on a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, which left 10 African Americans dead. The Buffalo shooting took place less than two weeks before the deadly massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Everhart testified before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
Everhart called herself “one of the lucky few” who can tell the story of her loved one’s shooting knowing she is still alive.
“The day my son was shot,” he said, “it was Zaire who called me. He said, ‘Mom, Mom, they shot me,’ and I wasn’t near him. today”.
“He didn’t deserve what happened to him,” he said. “No one does.”
But like many of the other speakers, Everhart expressed some optimism about finding a compromise on common-sense weapons legislation.
“I just spoke in front of Congress, and it was a sad situation, but I’m a repairman and I believe in fixing problems,” he said. “Today, I told Congress our problem. We have a weapons problem in this country, we have a racism problem and we have an education problem.”
“I ask you and I will help you do whatever it takes to pass common sense gun laws in this country,” Everhart added.
Advocates of gun reform, lawmakers call for action in DC
Source link Advocates of gun reform, lawmakers call for action in DC