On their second day of lobbying on Capitol Hill, gun control advocates and families who have lost loved ones to gun violence stood with Democratic lawmakers as they urged Congress to resume consideration of new gun legislation.
In a news conference Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that after each mass shooting, including the massacre at the Navy Yard Monday, Congress holds a moment of silence, but she argued Congress must do more to honor those who have died in gun violence.
“We’re almost unworthy of that tradition to think a moment of silence should make us feel better,” Pelosi said in a news conference Wednesday. “We don’t need a moment of silence. We need a day of action.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., warned that gun violence in America was becoming the “new normal,” saying ”it will take more than silence, it will take a lot of shouting” to end the problem.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, challenged the majority in the House to provide alternative legislation if it would not allow for a vote on universal background checks.
“If you’ve got a better idea … show it to us,” Thompson said.
Blumenthal, Pelosi and Thompson were joined by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Reps. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., and the families of victims of gun violence as gun control advocates spent their second day on Capitol Hill lobbying this week. On Thursday, gun control advocates will link up with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to hold a “No More Names” rally on Capitol Hill as it tries to reset the push for new gun legislation.
Carlos Soto, whose sister Vicki was a teacher killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year, said he would continue to fight for new gun legislation to spare other families the pain he feels.
“It’s very hard to think that she’s gone. It still doesn’t feel real,” Soto said. “I come down because I don’t want another family to go through what I’m going through right now. I don’t want another 15-year-old to be having to pick out his sister’s casket. I don’t want that to happen.”
Sandra Robinson, whose son was killed while sitting on his grandmother’s porch one evening in Chicago, said that those who argue for the rights of gun owners must also realize the pain suffered by those who have lost their family to gun violence.
“What about our children? They have a right to live,” Robinson said. “We’re standing as mothers and fathers up here. … It’s a constant ache in our heart that we can never get rid of.”