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Parents, law enforcement and one fourth-grade student are describing to U.S. lawmakers mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, that last month left 31 Americans dead and horrified the nation as the latest examples of massacres carried out by lone teenage gunmen.
Among those testifying before the House of Representatives is Miah Cerrillo, who covered herself in the blood of her friend to play dead during the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. She is joined by Felix and Kimberly Rubio, parents to Lexi Rubio, 10, who was shot to death in the same classroom.
Zeneta Everhart, mother of 20-year-old survivor Zaire Goodman, detailed the injuries suffered by her son on May 14, when an 18-year-old gunman carried out a racist rampage at a supermarket in Buffalo.
“To the lawmakers who feel that we do not need stricter gun laws: Let me paint a picture for you,” Everhart said in her testimony. “My son Zaire has a hole in the right side of his neck, two on his back and another on his left leg caused by an exploding bullet” from an AR-15 assault rifle.
“I want you to picture that exact scenario for one of your children,” she continued. “This should not be your story or mine.”
Other witnesses include Uvalde pediatrician Dr. Roy Guerrero, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia and Amy Swearer of The Heritage Foundation.
The testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform comes just hours before the broader chamber is expected to vote on a suite of stricter gun laws collectively known as the Protecting Our Kids Act.
Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grade Robb Elementary School student who survived the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, takes notes as victims’ parents and survivors of Uvalde and Buffalo shootings testify before a House Oversight Committee hearing on “The Urgent Need to Address the Gun Violence Epidemic,” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 8, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
The Democratic House will seek to pass legislation Wednesday afternoon that raises the age at which a person could purchase an assault rifle to 21 from 18, outlaw the sale of large-capacity magazines and create new rules for storing firearms at homes.
Even if House Democrats are able to muscle that bill through the chamber, the move would be symbolic since Senate Republicans are united against it.
Instead, a bipartisan group of senators including Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, are holding private discussions on far-less-restrictive gun legislation that stands a better chance of reaching President Joe Biden’s desk.
Biden met with Murphy on Tuesday to discuss his progress in Senate deliberations hours before actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey delivered an impassionate speech for tighter gun laws from the White House press briefing.