"One of the things I hear most commonly from people who try to comfort me and express their feelings after this event is that they couldn't imagine. Well, I certainly couldn't imagine it," Ross Zimmerman said. "My son and I talked about the idea of a parent losing a child. It never occurred to us it would happen to us. It never occurred to us that Gabe was in any danger. It never occurred to us that he would be the first congressional staff member in U.S. history to die in the line of duty in front of a Safeway.
"What is so hard about the idea of commonsense, responsible behavior? What is so hard about adding something like this?" Zimmerman asked. "This is a little piece of a much larger picture. I have plenty of friends who own guns. None of them think that these things are reasonable. There is no rationality to this. This is something that must change."
As she described her personal connection to O'Brien and Gabe's father Ross, McCarthy said O'Brien's activism on the gun issue took a lot of courage.
McCarthy shot back at critics who contend she is introducing her ban to capitalize on emotional feelings still raw from the shooting in Tucson.
"You're damn right we are. We are because the pain doesn't go away," McCarthy said. "As far as I'm concerned, Kelly is the living proof and Mr. Zimmerman is the living proof that gun violence just doesn't affect those that have been killed and those that have been wounded.
"Take a good look at Kelly and I. Really take a good look at the two of us. I'm certainly old enough to be her mom, but when you go home, really take a look at your family. Take a look at your children. Look at your friends and your neighbors," McCarthy continued. "At any one time, within a few seconds, life could change. Life could change forever. We are taking commonsense measures. We are trying to ban large magazines. We are trying to make sure everyone goes through background checks. I believe with all my heart and soul that we can save lives and prevent injuries without [infringing on] anyone's right to bear arms."