WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hundreds of mass shooting victims, survivors, physicians and gun safety advocates from across the country will gather in front of the U.S Capitol from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, to call on the Senate to pass S. 736, the federal assault weapons ban.
This landmark event – Pass the Ban – brings together people directly impacted by shootings from America’s long list of mass shootings: Buffalo, NY; Columbine, CO; Dayton, OH; Highland Park, IL; Las Vegas, NV; Oxford, MI; Orlando, FL; Parkland, FL; Uvalde, TX; and Sandy Hook, CT. Gun violence prevention organizations participating in the event include Brady, Change the Ref, Lives Robbed, Newton Action Alliance, No Future Without Today, Team ENOUGH and more.
Pass the Ban is organized by March Fourth, a non-partisan, grassroots community organization formed shortly after the Highland Park, Ill. parade shooting on July 4. March Fourth organized in D.C. just nine days after the parade shooting, bringing survivors and victims families from Highland Park and Uvalde to march on Capitol Hill and meet with lawmakers. Just weeks later, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1808, the first significant movement on a federal assault weapons ban in decades. The goal of the event is to motivate the U.S. Senate to vote on and pass S. 736, sending it to President Biden for signature, who said in late July that he will "not stop fighting" until the Senate passes the bill.
"The significance of this group is staggering," said Kitty Brandtner, founder of March Fourth. "We come from all corners of the country, representing more than a dozen mass shootings that have tragically become the background noise of America. Enough is enough–the time has come for the Senate to finally listen to the majority of Americans who want an assault weapons ban. We demand that they pass it now."
The federal assault weapons ban has received a groundswell of support in light of recent mass shootings, including from more than 700 physicians and medical professionals who join the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical groups to call for a federal ban while firearms lead causes of death for American children and teens.
"I’m a mother, physician, and now a survivor of a mass shooting," said Dr. Emily Lieberman, pediatrician at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago. "Assault weapon violence is a public health crisis, not a political issue. Our nation’s children are dying – our lawmakers need to protect them. As a pediatrician I take this incredibly personally."
Seven out of 50 states (and Washington, D.C.) have banned assault weapons. If passed, S. 736 would ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices which are commonly used to carry out mass shootings.
"We first went to D.C. to demand the House pass the assault weapons ban less than two months after our children were massacred. We were grieving but knew we had to do something," said Brett Cross, father of 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia, killed at Robb Elementary School and president of Lives Robbed. "We are back, more organized and laser-focused. We are proud to stand with this coalition to bring the fight to the Senate."
"Four years ago my life changed when an assault weapon and high capacity magazine was used to kill 17 students and staff members at my school in Parkland, FL," said Team ENOUGH Leader and Gun Violence Survivor Aalayah Eastmond. "Since then, I’ve fought to bring change so that no other community has to endure the trauma that that my community experienced at the hands of gun violence, and that far too many Black and Brown communities experience every day. Our policy makers have failed us, but
my voice, and the voices of other survivors cannot and will not be silenced. This violence is not inevitable, we have solutions, and together we can save lives."
Assault weapons bans work: in the decade that the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban was in effect, gun massacres fell by 37%, and the number of people who died from gun massacres declined 43%. In the decade after the ban expired, the U.S. experienced a 183% increase in gun "massacres" and a 239% increase in gun fatalities.
"Banning assault weapons is a collective, urgent call to action that won’t hurt the gun industry as bad as the gun industry has been hurting thousands of American families for the last decades," said Manuel Oliver, co-founder of Change the Ref and father of 17-year old Joaquin Oliver, killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Pass the Ban event speakers include:
- Kimberly Rubio, mother of 10-year old Lexi Rubio, killed at Robb Elementary School
- Angel Garza, father of 10-year old Amerie Jo Garza, killed at Robb Elementary School
- Manny OIiver, father of Joaquin Oliver, killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
- Zeneta Everhart, mother of 20-year old Zaire Goodman, injured at the Buffalo, NY shooting
- Dr. Emily Lieberman, pediatrician and survivor of Highland Park Fourth of July parade shooting
- Student survivors from Sandy Hook Elementary School
- Kiki Leyba, teacher and survivor of the Columbine High School shooting
- Madeline Johnson, survivor of the Oxford High School (Michigan) shooting
- Ricardo J. Negron-Almodovar, survivor of the Pulse (Orlando) shooting
- Aalayah Eastmond, Team ENOUGH leader and survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
- Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut
- Kris Brown, President, Brady
- Dr. Gene Cash, Professor at College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University
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SOURCE March Fourth