Gun rights and gun control advocates convene on Capitol Hill for a Senate showdown Wednesday beginning at approximately 10 a.m.
Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is expected to speak, along with her husband Mark Kelly—both gun control advocates. Giffords was almost killed during a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2011. Six people died that day, including a 9-year-old girl, and 18 others were injured.
The National Rifle Association’s head, Wayne LaPierre, is also expected to speak. Long lines are wrapped around the Hart Office Building's corridor and stairs, as hundreds of mostly gun control advocates wait to attend the hearing.
Giffords, though permanently affected neurologically after being shot in the head by her attacker, is a staunch fighter for this cause and will give an opening speech as law makers attempt to tackle the contentious gun control issue. She has already travelled to Newtown, Conn., to meet with grieving families and legislators. She has also met with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, himself a strong advocate for gun control.
The Senate hearing comes in the wake of several mass murders by guns—the latest being the horrific slaughter of 20 children and six of their educators at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, also killed his mother and took his own life.
Apart from the horror of Sandy Hook, young people are dying in the hundreds in neighborhoods across America. In Chicago’s Southside, over 500 were killed in 2012 alone—more than were killed in war-torn Afghanistan. One Chicago mom has lost all four of her children to gun violence. Digest that for a minute. But we do not hear much about this kind of genocide-like murders right in our backyard. The inaction is inhumane—a disregard for life that is terribly disturbing.
The Senate is known for its inaction, contention, bipartisanship and uncompromising stance so it will be extremely interesting to see the results of today’s hearings. Expect the combat to be intense for the NRA has shown no signs of compromising and gun control advocates are just as determined to get some of those mass killing machines off the streets and out of the hands of ordinary citizens.
President Obama vowed to enact stiffer gun control laws, promising the people of Newtown that they will not be forgotten. He has already proposed 23 executive orders aimed at that goal and has appointed vice president Joe Biden to oversee the overhauling of America’s gun legislation.
Gun rights advocates like the NRA see any more gun laws as a violation of their Second Amendment rights. In fact CEO LaPierre’s solution to our gun violence problem is more guns as he proposed arming all school guards.
The NRA had upped the ante by putting out a recent ad featuring President Obama's daughters, calling the president an elitist and a hypocrite for having armed guards at his children' school. I guess they forgot all first daughters get Secret Service protection?
Other gun enthusiasts have gone a step further in calling for our teachers and principals to be armed. One group said we should arm the janitors.
"Americans are counting on you," for "too many children are dying" said Giffords in her opening remarks. Adding" be bold, be courageous." Let’s see if the Senate heeds her sage advice.