WASHINGTON — As Congress headed back to work today, members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and members of the Everytown Survivor Network, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, gathered with Leader Pelosi and other lawmakers on the Capitol steps to urge their colleagues in the House to take a meaningful vote on gun violence prevention that will #DisarmHate and save lives – and Everytown released the following excerpts from remarks given during the rally by three gun violence survivors.
Also today, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund unveiled D.C. taxi cab advertisements and a rolling billboard truck around D.C., urging Congress to #BuckTheNRA. The ads feature a stark reminder of the more than 2,265 Americans killed by gun violence since the shooting in Orlando and the thousands of others who have been injured.
Today’s rally by the House Democratic leadership follows a series of accountability events over the July 4th Congressional recess period lead by Moms Demand Action chapters in states across the country. Gun safety supporters held events in key Senate and House districts, asking elected leaders while they were back home to ‘Buck the NRA’ and put public safety ahead of politics. In the weeks since Orlando, Americans made nearly 260,000 calls to Congress urging members to #DisarmHate.
STATEMENT FROM CATHERINE BODINE, WHO WAS SHOT AND WHOSE 10-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, SAMANTHA, WAS SHOT AND KILLED WITH A GUN THAT WAS PURCHASED ONLINE, AND A MEMBER OF THE EVERYTOWN SURVIVOR NETWORK:
“I cradled my daughter as she took her last breaths before she died of gunshot wounds. My beloved Sami was killed by my ex-fiancé, who bought a gun online with no background check despite being a felon and a domestic abuser who was legally barred from having or buying a gun. I live with the heartbreak of knowing that if our nation’s laws required a criminal background check before every gun sale, my daughter might be alive today. If you don’t believe the bills we are asking Congress to consider will make a difference and save lives, I’m here to tell you they would. I want to thank Leader Pelosi and Representatives Lewis and Thompson for their willingness to take a stand for public safety and buck the NRA. I implore other members of Congress to do the right thing and pass laws that can save lives. Nothing I can say or do will bring my Sami back. But if sharing my story helps save another mother from this unbearable pain, I will speak out again and again.”
STATEMENT FROM BARBARA PARKER, WHOSE DAUGHTER ALISON PARKER WAS SHOT AND KILLED ON LIVE TELEVISION WHILE REPORTING FOR WDBJ7 NEWS, AND A MEMBER OF THE EVERYTOWN SURVIVOR NETWORK:
“Ten months ago, I could not have imagined that I would be here with you today. Like so many people in this country, my husband Andy and I were horrified each time a mass shooting occurred and, like so many people in this country, we said ‘Something has to be done about gun violence!” But we did not speak out. It had not happened to us. We felt safe in our small town in Southern Virginia. Our children were grown and happy: It couldn’t happen to us. And then on August 26, 2015, it happened to us. Our beautiful 24-year-old daughter, Alison, was murdered on live television by an angry former employee of the station. Her cameraman Adam Ward was also killed. We were devastated. We could no longer be silent. It’s high time the House holds a real vote on what 90 percent of the American public supports – closing the loopholes that allow violent felons, the dangerously mentally ill and domestic abusers from purchasing deadly weapons. Nothing is going to bring Alison back, but we will not stop until every one of these NRA-funded politicians who offer up their ‘thoughts and prayers’ either start to take action, or are voted out of office. It’s time we do this for our children – for all of our children.”
STATEMENT FROM DeANDRA YATES, WHOSE 13-YEAR-OLD SON, DeANDRE, WAS STRUCK BY A STRAY BULLET AT A BIRTHDAY PARTY, AND A MEMBER OF THE EVERYTOWN SURVIVOR NETWORK:
“Two years and five months ago, my son was doing what any teenager should be doing – he was at a friend’s birthday party. That night, somebody fired gunshots into the home and Dre was hit in the back of his head. One shot, one bullet, changed our lives forever. My 15-year-old athletic honors student is now nonverbal and quadriplegic. Although I feel extremely blessed to still have him alive, I rarely hear his voice these days, and if I do, he’s yelling hard-to-understand words. This is no way for my son to live. I should be teaching my son how to drive, not how to walk. What we saw in our nation’s capital in the wake of Orlando was about far more than a vote or one bill. It’s about the outpouring of concern across the country and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died from gun violence in the last few years alone. And we cannot forget the countless others who were shot and survived with life-altering injuries like my Dre, who will never be the same. This same violence takes the lives of 91 Americans and injures hundreds more every day. Over and over again, Congress has failed those of us who have suffered at the hands of everyday urban gun violence – enough is enough. This is about disarming hate and saving lives. We are carrying the momentum of Congressman Lewis’s sit-in and Senator Murphy’s filibuster with us as we drive forward and continue our call for action for Orlando, for Chicago for Indianapolis, for DC, for Baltimore and for all victims and survivors of gun violence.”