In remarks kicking off today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., made a defiant call for Congress to “be bold” and “act” on gun violence.
“Too many children are dying,” she said. “We must do something.”
Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head two years ago during an assassination attempt that left six people dead, read slowly but forcefully from prepared remarks, and acknowledged that “speaking is difficult.”
“But I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem,” she said. “It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.”
The longstanding debate over the nation’s gun laws has taken on renewed resonance in recent weeks, in the aftermath of a mass shooting last month that left 20 first-graders and six adult faculty members dead at a small-town elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Since then, Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have vowed to enact meaningful change to reduce gun violence in America, and consulted stakeholders from all sides of the debate on how best to achieve that goal. In remarks unveiling his findings from that process earlier this month, Mr. Obama proposed a series of sweeping new laws, including the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, universal background checks on gun buyers, and a ban on high-capacity magazine ammunition.
Today’s congressional hearing marks the first on gun control since President Obama’s proposals, and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s first legislative hearing in the new Congress.
I am pleased to hear that after hearing from Americans from across the political spectrum, Vice President Joe Biden and his grassroots support decided to focus on some key priorities: closing background check loopholes, banning military-style assault weapons, making the schools safer, and increasing access to mental health services.
At last they have come to their senses and do find it more important to protect their kids.
Gunfire was probably the last thing U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her constituents
expected to hear during their Saturday morning town hall meeting in a Tucson grocery store parking lot. But by the time the last shot rang out on January 8, 2011, six lay dead or dying and thirteen more were injured. Rep. Giffords, the gunman’s target, was shot in the head. She survived, but faced a long and difficult journey to recovery. Among those who lost their lives were a nine-year-old girl, a federal judge, and one of Giffords’ staffers.
Four days later, President Obama spoke at a memorial service for the Tucson shooting victims, urging Americans to engage in a national conversation about the causes of this type of tragedy.
“We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future.”
Just after midnight on July 20, 2012, a man walked into a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and opened fire. He killed twelve people and wounded another 58.
Days after the shooting there, President Obama traveled to Aurora to speak with survivors and meet with family members and loved ones of each of the victims. He heard from local leaders about the community’s resilience in the face of such shocking violence – violence that reminded the nation it could have been any person just being there on the wrong time in that theatre, or any person mourning the loss of a friend or family member.
President Obama visits with survivors of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. July 22, 2012
President Obama also reminded us that even in the darkest of days, the extraordinary courage and strength of the American people shines through. He told the remarkable story of two young women he met who survived the shooting. After Allie was shot in the neck, her best friend Stephanie stayed beside her and kept pressure on the wound, even as bullets whizzed overhead. When they stopped, Stephanie helped carry Allie outside to the safety of a waiting ambulance, two parking lots away.
But just a few weeks later, another American community faced the unimaginable grief that cities like Tucson and Aurora knew too well. In Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a shooting in a Sikh temple left six people dead and four more wounded.
Despite witnessing these tragedies again and again and again, nothing could have steeled the nation for what would happen in Newtown, Connecticut.
On December 14, 2012, the day had just begun at Sandy Hook Elementary when a man broke into the school and started shooting. Within minutes, twenty of Sandy Hook’s first graders – 6 and 7 year olds – were killed in their classrooms. The school’s principal and psychologist were among the six staff members who died trying to protect the children in their care.
That afternoon, the President spoke emotionally about the day’s events from the White House. At a prayer vigil in Newtown two days later, President Obama said we couldn’t tolerate this kind of tragedy anymore. The time had come to take meaningful action to reduce gun violence in America. It is strange the majority of Americans do not see that such things are intolerable. Why should any civilian be able to buy war guns or have a full arsenal of all sorts of guns? The last weeks we saw Americans rushing too the gun shops, buying all sorts of weapons. They are not afraid to have even war-weapons in the house.
“If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.”
Five days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, President Obama announced that Vice President Biden would lead an effort to develop a set of concrete policy proposals for reducing gun violence, due no later than January.
“This is not some Washington commission. This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reforms right now.”
Keeping with President Obama’s commitment to engage the American people in the process, the Vice President solicited input from citizens and organizations with a wide range of concerns, perspectives, and opinions while preparing his recommendations. From victims’ advocates to educators, elected leaders to sports and wildlife conservationists, he spoke with many groups about their ideas on curbing gun violence in the United States.
At last the people in charge are asking for a new, stronger ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that allow a shooter to fire dozens of bullets as quickly as he can pull a trigger. And they are asking Congress to help protect law enforcement by make it illegal for members of the public to possess armor-piercing bullets.
Vice President Joe Biden wants to see the government going to give law enforcement more tools and resources to prevent and prosecute gun crimes, and we’re going to end the freeze on gun violence research that prevents the Center from Disease Control from looking at the causes of gun violence.
He is calling on Congress to help make schools safer by putting up to 1,000 school resource officers and mental health professionals in schools and ensuring they have comprehensive emergency management plans in place. But more important they should give more psychological advice and follow up of the pupils and create the right atmosphere in the school to have a caring group, without bullying and without any other asocial behaviour.
It is good that they are going to increase coverage so that students and young adults can get access to the mental health treatment they may need. Obamacare may help financially those who are not fortunate enough to pay the treatment.
Everybody should be aware that no policy they enact or law they enforce can prevent every senseless act of violence in their country. But by making it more difficult to get their hands on deadly weapons,the would be criminals shall have more time to think about what they want to do and if it is something they really should do. By making it more difficult to get the means to kill, lesser people shall be killed.
The nation has suffered too much at the hands of dangerous people who use guns to commit horrific acts of violence.
If they can save the life of even one child, they have a deep responsibility to act.
- Giffords at gun violence hearing: “Too many children are dying” (cbsnews.com)
Testifying before the committee this morning, former astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords’ husband, made an impassioned entreaty for bipartisan action to curb gun violence. Kelly, who with Giffords recently started a PAC with that same goal, said his first priority is fixing the nation’s background check system.”The holes and our laws make a mockery of the background check system. Congress should close the private sales loophole, and the dangers people entered into that system,” he said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and five other Democratic lawmakers will be joined by mayors, law enforcement officials and gun violence victims at 11:00 a.m. ET to unveil a measure that would reinstate the assault weapons ban, which went into effect in 1994 bill and lapsed in 2004. The bill would outlaw the sale, importation and manufacture of over 100 specialty firearms along with certain semiautomatic weapons; it would also outlaw the sale, importation and manufacture of ammunition magazines that accept more than 10 rounds. Americans would be able to keep affected weapons if the weapons were already in their possession when the bill was enacted, and exemptions would be made for specific hunting and sporting weapons, as well as antique or disabled weapons.
- Aide: Gabrielle Giffords to testify at gun hearing (azfamily.com)
In a dramatic appeal, wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords urged Congress on Wednesday to enact tougher gun control legislation, saying, “too many children are dying.”
- “You must act. Be bold. Be courageous.” – Gabby Giffords on gun violence. (emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com)
Hi, I’m calling from [location], and I just wanted to make sure that President Obama/Senator XXXXX/Representative XXXXX knows that I support the White House gun control initiative.I think that things like background checks, limits on magazine capacity, and a ban on assault weapons are common sense tools to help us protect each other, and I hope that efforts will also be made to work with inner city communities to address their particular needs — I know that less than 1% of urban populations are responsible for about 70% of all shootings in cities, and it’s tragic that so many people are held hostage to that violence.
- Gabrielle Giffords visits Newtown, will meet with families (news.yahoo.com)
Giffords, who was shot and critically wounded in a 2011 shooting, met with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Newtown’s first selectman, according to Sue Marcinek, an assistant to the selectman. Giffords was accompanied by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.
- Gun, Ammo Sales Take Off Following President Obama’s Re-election (atlantablackstar.com)
Gun lovers have been running to stock up on weapons in record numbers since President Barack Obama’s re-election earlier this month.Fearing a potential crackdown on their right to carry arms, they are buying up ammunition, handguns and other firearms as quickly as possible in advance of new government regulations or a United Nations agreement that might somehow infringe on the U.S. gun market.
- Giffords: “Too many children are dying” – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Obama demands ban on assault weapons from Congress (judgementofamerica.wordpress.com)
- Obama’s gun plan begins slow, scrutinized trek through Congress – NBCNews.com (blog) (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- VOTE: Will President Obama’s Gun Control Proposals Make Us Safer? (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Paul Ryan: Gun show loophole an ‘obvious’ problem (rawstory.com)
Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said in a video published Monday that requiring universal background checks for gun purchases was indisputably needed.He told Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel editorial board that closing the so-called gun show loophole was “an area we need to look into.” Though licensed gun dealers are required to run federal background checks, private sellers at gun shows and other venues do not have the same requirement.