Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the Vocal Majority bus tour stopped in Newtown Oct. 15 for a roundtable and press conference at Edmond Town Hall. Giffords visited the site previously when mourners gathered there in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.
Giffords, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, 5th District, urged Connecticut residents to make sure they use their vote to reduce gun violence in this election. Philip Dwyer, candidate for state senator of the 28th District, which represents Easton, Weston, Fairfield and Newtown, attended the event.
“Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right,” Giffords said. “I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together, be responsible, Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting. Fight, fight, fight.”
Dwyer said,“The courage, bravery, and resilience that former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords embodies is truly remarkable. It was an honor and a privilege to meet and speak with Gabby and I applaud her commitment to fighting for stronger gun violence prevention laws throughout the country. Connecticut is one of the best states for gun safety laws, but more can be done. We need to continue to put forward legislation that makes our state as safe as possible for our children and families.”
The Vocal Majority Tour event and national tour is organized and hosted by Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, the gun violence prevention organization founded by Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly. The PAC has endorsed Blumenthal and Esty, naming them Connecticut Champions for the Vocal Majority.
The event was the 20th stop, and the only stop in Connecticut, on the 42-day Vocal Majority Tour, which Giffords and Kelly started on Sept. 27 in Orlando, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history. The tragedy at the Pulse nightclub left 49 people dead. Newtown is the home of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a deadly shooting in 2012 killed 20 children and six adult staff members,
The roundtable included representatives from a broad spectrum of organizations working to stop gun violence including Moms Demand Action, Western Connecticut Health Network, Newtown Youth and Family Services, the Brady Campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety, Western Connecticut State University, Connecticut Coalition against Domestic Violence, and Newtown Action Alliance.
Jeremy Richman, a Sandy Hook parent who lost his daughter in the shooting, and the Rev. Sam Saylor, vice president of the National Gun Victims Action Council, who lost his son to gun violence, also spoke.
The Vocal Majority campaign seeks to mobilize millions of Americans to make the election a referendum on gun violence prevention and to support leaders up and down the ballot who are committed to taking responsible steps that reduce gun violence.
After the Newtown event, The Vocal Majority Tour traveled to New York before heading south to Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia.
Gun violence in America
Each year, gun violence claims the lives of 33,000 Americans and more than 100,000 are injured.
According to research supplied by Americans for Responsible Solutions, 93% of Connecticut voters support responsible changes to our gun laws that help keep guns out of the wrong hands, including closing the loopholes in laws that let felons, domestic abusers, and dangerously mentally ill people to buy guns without a criminal background check. They also support closing loopholes that let known and suspected terrorists pass a background check and legally purchase a gun.