WASHINGTON -- On behalf of the 32 Americans murdered by guns every day, Colin Goddard and at least 31 other victims of gun violence will converge on Capitol Hill on April 16 and 17 to challenge Congressional leaders and members to keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people, the Brady Campaign announced today. The victims’ challenge comes as the nation observes the anniversaries of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School, and as Americans continue to express outrage over the killing of Trayvon Martin and the guns anywhere for just about anybody agenda of the gun lobby.
Screenings of the documentary, Living for 32, which features Goddard’s journey from gun violence survivor to advocate for gun violence prevention, will also take place on college campuses and in communities on April 16.
Goddard, who survived being shot four times on April 16, 2007, Tom Mauser, whose 15-year-old son Daniel was killed in the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, and Sherialyn Byrdsong, whose husband Ricky was killed on July 2, 1999 by a white supremacist who should not have gotten a gun, will be joined on Capitol Hill on April 16 and 17 by about 30 other victims of gun violence from cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia.
Goddard emailed and hand-delivered letters over the past few days to eight members of Congress seeking meetings with them and the victims on Tuesday, April 17. Those members include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California), and sponsors of what the Brady Campaign calls the “George Zimmerman Armed Vigilante Act,” Sen. John Thune (R- South Dakota), Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska).
“Time and again after high-profile shootings, we’ve heard members of Congress say that now is not the ‘appropriate’ time to discuss legislation to prevent these tragedies,” said Goddard, who works as Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs for Brady. “Well, 32 Americans are murdered every single day in this country. We want to know: When will it be ‘appropriate’ to talk about keeping us safe? We are tired of living with the tragedy of gun violence, and we want Congress to act now to protect us and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We won’t rest until they do.”
Brady Campaign President Dan Gross, whose brother Matthew was shot while visiting the Empire State building in 1997, will bring the voice of the American people to bear on April 16 and 17.
“We are coming to Capitol Hill to demand that Congress stand up to the gun lobby. We are coming to demand that Senators reject the 'George Zimmerman Act' and pledge to put the safety of the American people ahead of the gun lobby,” said Gross. “Trayvon Martin, the victims of Virginia Tech and Columbine, Sherilyn Byrdsong’s husband, my brother’s friend, and thousands of other Americans are all dead because the gun lobby has made it easy for dangerous people to get, carry, and use guns. Too many members of Congress have been their accomplices. We’re marching up to Capitol Hill to say ‘Enough is enough! We will hold you accountable for putting the gun lobby’s agenda ahead of the people you were elected to represent.'”
The Brady Campaign recently began mobilizing to stop bills S 2188 and S 2213, which make up what it’s calling the “George Zimmerman Armed Vigilante Act.” The Senate bills, similar to HR 822, which passed the House late last year, would allow dangerous people like Zimmerman to carry guns in public places, from downtown L.A., to New York’s Times Square, even though those states’ concealed carry laws make it highly unlikely that Zimmerman would be granted a permit to carry a gun in public.
A copy of a report about the implications of the Act can be found here.