Outraged Over Recent Senate Votes, Relatives Of Gun Violence Victims Speak Out

Jun 21, 2016

Members of Everytown for Gun Safety partnered with LGBTQ advocates on a conference call Monday. It includes Russell Royball with the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, Erica Lafferty Smegielski, daughter of a Sandy Hook victim, and Lucia McBath, the mother of slain teen Jordan Davis.
Credit Everytown for Gun Safety's twitter

The relatives of two people killed by firearms say they’re disappointed gun control legislation they supported failed to get enough votes in the Republican-led U.S. Senate.

Two Republican amendments would have expanded background checks as well as ban the sale of guns to suspected terrorists. So, would two Democratic proposals, but none gained the needed 60 votes for approval Monday. Whether it was impeding citizen’s Second Amendment Rights or the legislation didn’t go far enough, both parties took issue with the other sides’ proposal.

Russell Royball is with the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, a group that aims to help people within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community.

“The failure of the Senate tells the LGBT community that our lives are disposable, that in the face of the largest mass shooting in modern American history, we do not matter, that despite the gains we’ve made in the last several years, we are still second class citizens,” said Royball, on a conference call Monday.

Lucy McBath was also upset by the news. She’s the mother of Jordan Davis, a black teenager who was fatally shot at a Jacksonville gas station during a dispute over loud music.

“How many more innocent people must die before we say enough,” she asked. “How can we as a nation mourn one day and move on the next, while families are being torn apart and lives are being forever changed? And, then, of course, the cowardly politicians in the pockets of the NRA have voted against common sense proposals to save American lives. They fail to close loopholes that make it far too easy for dangerous people, including suspected terrorists to buy guns inside this country.”

And, Erica Lafferty Smegielski echoes the sentiment. She’s the daughter of the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal who was among the 26 killed during that mass shooting in Connecticut in 2012.

“My mom was my best friend and I will never stop speaking out for her,” she said. I am livid that Congress did not do its job.”

She says as part of the Everytown for Gun Safety movement—that McBath is also a part of—she knows how hard thousands of people worked to contact members of Congress urged them  to pass the Democrats’ gun control measures. But, Lafferty Smegielski says it’s not over.

“I am mad,” she added. “I am disappointed, but I’ve been here before in the wake of a tragedy, and I know exactly what’s ahead. This time, it will be different. Gun violence survivors, like me, Moms, and everyday Americans refuse to accept gun violence coupled with the inaction by our Congress as the new normal. We’ve built a movement to bring about gun violence prevent long-term.”

As part of that movement, Everytown for Gun Safety is working to get politicians elected who support gun control. Meanwhile, a bipartisan compromise led by a moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) may have enough votes needed to actually pass. Among its provisions, it would prevent those on the no Fly List from buying guns. Another provision by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) would also alert the FBI if someone taken off the terrorist watch list within the last five years buys a gun.

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