WASHINGTON — Kimberly Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter Lexi was killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday pleaded with members of Congress to enact new gun control laws, using her own fresh pain to take action. to demand .
“We’re committed to banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines,” Ms Rubio said, her voice trembling after talking about the last time she saw her daughter and the panicked moments before learning Lexi was dead. “We understand for some reason, for some people — for people with money, for people who fund political campaigns — that guns are more important than children.”
“So right now we are asking for progress.”
The emotional plea of Mrs. Rubio, outspoken as her husband sat quietly crying next to her, showed up at a hearing on gun control legislation stuck on Capitol Hill amid Republican opposition, and as Senate negotiators push for a two-pronged deal that could break the stalemate.
Lexi’s parents were accompanied by Dr. Roy Guerrero, the only pediatrician in the small town of Uvalde and a Robb Elementary alumnus, testified in tragically graphic detail about what the AR-15 used in the massacre had done to the bodies of fourth-graders. He testified in person on Capitol Hill, berating lawmakers for failing to act in light of a rising tide of gun violence in America.
“We’re bleeding out,” he told the committee, “and you’re not here.”
dr. Guerrero recalled seeing two children “whose bodies had been so pulverized by the bullets fired at them over and over, whose flesh was so ripped apart that the only clue to their identity was the blood-spattered cartoon clothes. who still turn to them.”
Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grader who survived the Robb massacre by covering herself in a classmate’s blood and pretending to be dead, shared her ordeal in a pre-recorded video, too traumatized to appear in person.
“He shot my friend who was sitting next to me,” she said of the gunman who butchered 19 students and two teachers at her school, softly and with little apparent emotion. “And I thought he would come back to the room.”
Miah’s father, who appeared in person on behalf of his daughter, left the courtroom in tears.
The emotional testimony unfolded hours before the House was due to vote on a package of gun control measures, including legislation that would ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles to those under 21 and the sale of magazines containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The bills will almost certainly lead to nowhere in the evenly divided Senate, where solid Republican opposition means they can’t draw the 60 votes it takes to break a filibuster.
The hope among Democrats was that the first-person accounts of witnesses still coping with the trauma of gun violence would underscore the public and lawmakers what’s at stake, putting pressure on Republicans opposing gun control measures to something to do would increase.
“No citizen needs an assault rifle, and the Second Amendment does not protect the right to possess a weapon of war,” said New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney Representative and chair of the committee. “It’s time we banned assault rifles from our streets and homes.”
Zeneta Everhart, whose son Zaire was injured in the racist gun attack in Buffalo, NY, 10 days before the Uvalde tragedy, said lawmakers who failed to do anything despite mass shootings should be voted out of office.
“Let me take a picture for you: 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,” she said. “I want you to imagine that exact scenario for one of your kids. This shouldn’t be your story or mine.”
But the second half of the hearing, in which lawmakers questioned expert witnesses, seemed unrelated to the heartbreaking testimonies of grieving parents and survivors of mass shootings.
The Republicans in the room seemed unmoved by the testimonials and calls for action, retreating to their political corners, reiterating their previously held positions on guns.
“Evil acts do not transcend constitutional rights,” said Georgia Republican Representative Andrew Clyde, arguing that gunless school zone signs were part of the problem and the solution was to harden schools.
Representative James Comer of Kentucky, the panel’s top Republican, warned in an opening statement that “knee-shock reactions,” such as proposals for tougher gun laws, in the face of gun violence were not the answer. Instead, he said the problem was those who are soft on crime and support the police.