Survivors and family members of those slaughtered in the Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas shootings will testify before a congressional committee next week amid a push for new gun laws in the wake of the horrific massacres.
The House Oversight Committee announced Friday it would hold hearings on Wednesday that with testimony from nine people including Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grader who survived the Robb Elementary School shooting by covering herself in her friend’s blood and playing dead.
New York City Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the Democrat who chairs the committee, said in a statement she was looking at “turning anger into action” in the wake of the killings that left 32 people dead in total.
“Our hearing will examine the terrible impact of gun violence and the urgent need to rein in the weapons of war used to perpetrate these crimes,” Maloney said.
The listed speakers on two panels will also include Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, Kimberly and Felix Rubio — whose daughter Lexi was one of the 19 children and two teachers slain in the Texas shooting — Zeneta Everhart, mother of Zaire Goodman, who was shot in the neck during the racist rampage at Topps Friendly Markets in Buffalo last month.
“It is my hope that all my colleagues will listen with an open heart as gun violence survivors and loved ones recount one of the darkest days of their lives,” Maloney said. “This hearing is ultimately about saving lives, and I hope it will galvanize my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation to do just that.”
Democrats have been pushing for a package of new legislation in the wake of the mass shootings, which came within 10 days of each other – but reforms are longshots without Republican support.
The “Protecting Our Kids” package has eight bills include proposals to outlaw high-capacity magazines and rage the age to buy semi-automatic rifles. The package can pass the Democratic-controlled House as early as next week but is likely destined for failure in the Senate, where at least 10 Republicans would have to be on board to avoid it getting derailed by a filibuster.
Some congressional Democrats are pushing to split the package so some of the individual bills have a better chance of passing into law.
President Joe Biden said Thursday he was in favor of an assault-weapons ban or at least raising the age to purchase the weapons from 18 to 21 – measures members of the GOP have openly opposed.
“I respect the culture and the tradition and the concerns of lawful gun owners,” Biden said in a prime time speech. “At the same time, the Second Amendment, like all other rights, is not absolute.”
The latest push comes in the wake of the May 14 attack in Buffalo, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 10, and the May 24 killing in Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead. In both cases, the gunman was 18-years old and used an AR-15 style assault rifle.