Survivors of the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, as well as family members of victims, are slated to testify before Congress on Wednesday.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee will hear from a number of key witnesses regarding the May 14 shooting in Buffalo. Ten people were killed in that shooting by a white supremacist gunman who targeted shoppers in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Survivors of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde will also testify before the committee, along with family members of the victims. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in that shooting, which took place on May 24.
Among those who will be testifying is Miah Cerrillo, a fourth grader who covered herself with the blood of a classmate and played dead to hide from the shooter.
“We were saying maybe it would be too difficult” for her to participate, said Rep.Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. “But she felt strongly and her parents supported her wish that she be able to testify and tell her story.”
Those who are testifying “have endured pain and loss,” Maloney said in her opening statement.
“Yet they are displaying incredible courage by coming here to ask us to do our jobs,” Maloney continued. “Let us hear their voices. Let us honor their courage. And let us find the same courage to pass common sense laws to protect our children.”
In addition to highlighting the experiences of people who have been impacted by mass shootings, the hearing is set to “examine the urgent need for Congress to pass common sense legislation that a majority of Americans support,” Maloney said, including proposals like expanding background checks and enacting an assault weapons ban. These measures are unlikely to pass in Congress, however, as such legislation will likely be blocked by Republicans in the Senate.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the “upper house” is currently negotiating a potential bill to address gun violence. But instead of a weapons ban or an expansion of background checks, their proposal will likely focus on expanding so-called “red flag” laws, strengthening mental health services across the U.S., and providing funding to schools to increase security measures.
Since the Uvalde shooting, which took place about two weeks ago, more than 700 people have been shot and killed in the United States. Some of these deaths can be attributed to mass shootings, as 730 people have died as the result of 650 different incidents.