In the wake of several mass shootings, state leaders joined survivors of gun violence, public health experts, clergy, LGBT advocates, and others on Wednesday at UConn Health Center for a “National Day of Action” event calling for an end to gun violence.
During the event, Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, stood with survivors as they told passionate stories of survival, doctors told of their struggles, and leaders spoke about the need for new legislation that would help stem the flood of violence.
The event came on the heels of House Democrats’ 26-hour sit-in on the House floor, in which all five of Connecticut’s representatives in the House participated, and the Senate Democrats’ 15-hour filibuster led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) calling for action on gun violence prevention legislation.
“The most exciting part about the last two weeks is what you’re seeing here. Today and every day, all across this country, we are seeing the American people rising up and saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” Esty said. “You can turn off the lights. You can shut down the mics. But you can’t shut down the American people. We won’t stop pushing until we get a vote.”
Mallory said the state has the smartest gun law in the nation and that communities are safer for it.
“We are indeed a model for other states. In Washington, our Congressional delegation has stood for commonsense steps, which the vast majority of Americans support, to save lives. Time and time again, smart policies like universal background checks have been impeded by those who want to stand in the way of progress," he said. "We must not relent, because commonsense gun violence laws are not just the smart thing to do – they're the right thing to do. On this National Day of Action to prevent gun violence, our hearts go out to all the victims of gun violence, their family members, and loved ones. Enough is enough.”
DeLauro pointed out that leaders across the country have the responsibility to address the issues of universal background checks, to say ‘no’ to putting guns in the hands of potential terrorists, to ban all assault weapons, and to conduct research on gun violence.
"We need to be able to hold gun manufacturers accountable for crimes committed with their guns. And we must provide additional mental health resources and fund mental health programs sufficiently, so that people get the help they need,” DeLauro said. “As members of Congress, we were elected to protect our constituents, to listen to their voices, and to vote on the issues they care about most. On today’s National Day of Action, let us make our voices heard.” “
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions said that although it was difficult for her to speak, she wanted to thank those leading the fight.
“I want to thank Congresswoman DeLauro and Congresswoman Esty for helping lead the fight against our nation’s gun violence crisis. Speaking is difficult for me. But I haven't been silenced. And neither should the American people. Their representatives must vote to make our communities safer.”