Uvalde survivor and victim’s parents testify at House hearing on gun violence


Washington — A young student who survived the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, is testifying before House lawmakers at a hearing on gun violence, hours before the House is set to debate a package of bills to strengthen gun laws.

Miah Cerrillo, a 4th grader at Robb Elementary School, will appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Cerrillo survived the shooting by smearing the blood of a classmate on herself to appear as if she was dead, one of the more horrific accounts of the May 26 massacre that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers.

Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, the committee’s chairwoman, will said the hearing will “examine the terrible impact of gun violence and the urgent need to rein in the weapons of war used to perpetrate these crimes.”

“It is my hope that all my colleagues will listen with an open heart as gun violence survivors and loved ones recount one of the darkest days of their lives,” she said in a statement announcing the hearing. “This hearing is ultimately about saving lives, and I hope it will galvanize my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation to do just that.”

Other witnesses at the hearing include Felix and Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was among those killed in Uvalde. A mother of one of the victims in the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, will also appear, along with a pediatrician from Uvalde. The committee will hear from a panel of experts in a second session.

The shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have spurred renewed efforts by Democrats in Congress to pass more stringent gun control measures. The Democratic-led House is set to begin debate on legislation known as the Protecting Our Kids Act on Wednesday afternoon that would raise the minimum age for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, limit magazine sizes and ban so-called “ghost guns,” among other provisions. House Republican leaders encouraged their members to vote against the bill

Any meaningful changes to the nation’s gun laws, however, must also pass the evenly divided Senate, where the support of 10 Republicans is needed to advance legislation. A bipartisan group of senators has been negotiating a set of narrower reforms that could include strengthening background checks for gun sales and encouraging states to adopt “red flag” laws, which allow courts to order the confiscation of firearms from those deemed a threat to themselves or others. 

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