Parents and family members of thoes killed in the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary gave emotional testimony Wednesday (Jan. 30), urging lawmakers to do something about gun control. During the hearing, held at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., family members called for the banning of assault rifles, and stricter screening practices. The hearings have been held all week, with thousands lining up to participate.
Those who spoke made it clear that while they respect the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, certain firearms should not be available to the general public. “I have no idea how long it took to reload and refire a musket,” said Bill Sherlach, whose wife, Mary was killed at Sandy Hook. She was a school psychologist. “I do know that the number of shots fired in the Sandy Hook Elementary in those few short minutes is almost incomprehensible, even in today's modern age.”
Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, is believed to have unloaded upwards of a hundred rounds into the victims.
Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was killed at the school, says the tragedy marks a teachable moment. “Make this the time that change happens,” she said. “Don't give up because it's too hard or too difficult. Make a promise to honor the lives lost at Sandy Hook and elsewhere in America by turning this tragedy into the moment of transformation that benefits us all.”
Gun violence may have been at the forefront of the event, but mental illness was also addressed. “If there is any commonsense or wisdom among the members of this committee, I would humbly ask you to focus on the underlying cause of these murders and not these symptoms,” said Newtown resident, Michael Majeski.
Former Rep. Gabby Gifford, who was struck in the head during a mass shooting two years ago, has also expressed support of stricter gun measure. Gifford demanded that firearm owners go through extensive background checks, an idea struck down by National Rifle Association frontman Wanye LaPierre. “When it comes to background checks, let's be honest, backgrounds checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them,” LaPierre said.
In the aftermath of the December shooting at Sandy Hook, President Obama has put together a committee aimed at adjusting gun laws.
See photos from yesterday's event, below.
Photos: Jessica Hill/AP Larry Downing/REUTERS