A group including celebrities Tony Bennett, Chris Rock and Amanda Peet, along with survivors of gun violence, today called on Congress to act on President Obama’s gun violence proposals, hoping to bring urgency to Capitol Hill for tougher gun control legislation.
“I’d like the assault weapons to go to war, not in our own country and I’d like assault weapons eliminated,” Bennett said, adding that he has still not “gotten over” the Sandy Hook shootings.
The group, led by New York Mayor Bloomberg’s organization “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” is calling for Congress to pass legislation including background checks for all gun sales and an assault weapons ban.
Comedian and actor Chris Rock said the message to Congress should listen to the president.
“The president and the first lady are kind of like the mom and dad of the country. And when your dad says something – you listen,” Rock said. “And when you don’t it usually bites you in the ass later on.”
Actor Adam Scott from the TV show “Parks and Recreation” said if Congress does not act in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre it shows that the country is “broken.”
“Our Congress is holding in their hands the power to save lives right now. All they have to do is pass the sensible legislation President Obama has recommended,” Scott said. “Let’s put partisanship aside and help each other.”
The celebrities were joined by advocates Martin Luther King III, Kerry Kennedy and parents of Virginia Tech students who have seen the effects of gun violence on a personal level.
“It’s almost impossible to describe the pain of losing your father to a senseless murder or the anger and fear of knowing that murder might have been avoided if only our leaders have acted to stop the violence,” Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy, said.
Congressman Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said the gun control task force he leads on Capitol Hill will have recommendations for Congress in the very near future on the next legislative steps.
“I’m a gun owner, I’m a hunter and I believe in the second amendment. Law abiding Americans have a right to own a firearm,” Thompson said, “but there’s also not only a right but a responsibility to regulate that right to own a firearm.”
Thompson said it is going to take the “responsible middle” in Congress to get legislation passed.