Survivors of recent mass shootings to testify before House hearing

Survivors of recent mass shootings to testify before House hearing

WASHINGTON -Survivors and family members of victims of the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, N.Y. will testify before lawmakers Wednesday at a hearing on the epidemic of gun violence.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is expected to hear from two panels of witnesses. The first panel features Zeneta Everhart, mother of Zaire Goodman, 20, who was shot in the neck and survived in the Buffalo shooting; Roy Guerrero, Uvalde's only pediatrician who also helped treat victims, Felix Rubio and Kimberly Rubio, the mother of Lexi Rubio, who was shot and killed in Uvalde and pretended to be dead.

After 19 innocent children and two teachers lost their lives in Texas just ten days after a mass shooting in my home state of New York, I am turning my anger into action, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement. Our hearing will look at the terrible impact of gun violence and the need to rein in the weapons of war used to perpetrate these crimes. The second panel of witnesses will include Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, Everytown for Gun Safety Senior Vice President for Law and Policy Nick Suplina, National Education Association President Becky Pringle and Community Justice Action Fund Executive Director Greg Jackson, Jr.

Maloney said the hearing would look at the need for Congress to pass commonsense legislation that a majority of Americans support. She said there are proposals that include expanding background checks and an assault weapons ban.

The hearing came after a weekend of mass shootings across the country that left at least 12 people dead. Over Memorial Day weekend last week, at least nine people were killed and more than 60 people were injured in mass shootings.

President Joe Biden has been pleading for Congress to take legislative action to address the spate of gun violence, saying in a prime-time speech from the White House last week that Republicans' opposition to various proposals is unconscionable. The House and Senate have been working on possible measures to address the issue. The House is expected to vote on a package of bills that were submitted to the House Judiciary Committee last week. The Protecting Our Kids Act would create new federal offenses for gun trafficking and straw purchases, and raise the legal age to buy a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21. It would give states incentives to pass red flag laws which would allow authorities to confiscate guns from people deemed to be risky to themselves or others.

Biden has repeatedly endorsed an assault weapons ban, but it would not pass the evenly divided Senate.

A bipartisan group of senators has been negotiating a plan that they hope would garner the support of at least 10 Republicans, which Democrats would need to overcome a 60- vote filibuster to pass legislation.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a leader of the group, said he hopes to reach an agreement by the end of the week. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who tasked Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas with participating in the talks, said Tuesday : Trying to get a bipartisan outcome that makes a difference, and hopefully sometime this week we ll come together.