- The House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
- Perhaps the most moving testimony comes from Miah Cerrillo, an 11-year-old survivor from Uvalde.
- Lawmakers face mounting pressure to address the scourge of mass shootings and gun violence.
- At least nine witnesses will testify on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and advocates — even actor Matthew McConaughey — share impassioned calls for reforming the nation’s gun laws, but the most compelling argument would have to come from a fourth-grader.
Miah Cerrillo, an 11-year-old girl who smeared herself with the blood of her slain friend to play dead in the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, is one of nine witnesses who will testify at the a hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Capitol. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is holding the hearing to address the epidemic of gun violence.
Her father, Miguel, told USA TODAY this week that Miah is sharing her story of survival to “make schools safer.”
“This hearing is ultimately about saving lives,” committee chair Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., said in a statement.
Why she testifies:Still facing nightmares, 11-year-old Uvalde survivor Miah Cerrillo will testify at House gun hearing
What we know from the Chamber hearing
Wednesday’s hearing comes during an emotionally charged week on Capitol Hill. It began with a Monday rally for gun safety laws and included tense negotiations in the Senate, heated debate in the House and heated hearings in both houses.
McConaughey, from Uvalde, met with members of both parties to encourage them to work together, he said during a White House briefing on Tuesday.
Lawmakers are facing mounting pressure to respond to the scourge of violence, especially after mass shootings in Texas and New York gripped the country last month.
Members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee will hear from a young survivor, parents of victims, a community pediatrician, advocates and others who are reeling from trauma after the May 24 massacres at Robb Elementary in Uvalde and the racially motivated May 14 massacre. of 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket in a black neighborhood.
The committee said the hearing will consider “the urgent need for Congress to pass common sense legislation supported by a majority of Americans.”
Democrats who have the majority on the committee want to ban assault weapons, strengthen background checks and pass ‘red flag’ laws, which allow courts to remove firearms from those deemed a threat for themselves or for others.
Audition details:Uvalde and Buffalo survivors and families to testify before House Mass Shooting Oversight Committee
What we know about the witnesses
The hearing is expected to be long and moving, with two panels of witnesses.
Miah is on the first panel, which includes Zeneta Everhart, mother of Buffalo shooting victim Zaire Goodman; Felix and Kimberly Rubio, parents of Uvalde shooting victim Lexi Rubio; and Dr. Roy Guerrero, Uvalde’s only pediatrician.
These panelists will tell their stories, experiences and trauma just weeks after the mass shootings. They will not answer questions from lawmakers, according to a spokesperson for the committee.
The second panel of witnesses includes Greg Jackson, Jr., executive director of the Community Justice Action Fund; Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gamaglia; Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association; and Nick Suplina, senior vice president for law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety.
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What we know about the House Oversight and Reform Committee
The large committee that will hear testimony includes 25 Democrats and 19 Republicans.
Democratic members include Maloney, who is in an intense primary battle with fellow New York Democrat Jerry Nadler; Jamie Raskin, who is also busy this week at the committee on January 6 investigating this week the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive who calls for reform; Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley and others.
Republican members include Jim Jordan, an outspoken GOP Republican member Freedom Caucus which opposes most gun restrictions; Arizona’s Andy Biggs; Nancy Mace of South Carolina; Byron Donalds and Scott Franklin of Florida, where the reform measures were passed, and others.
A push for reform
The House Oversight and Reform Committee is the latest panel to examine the gun violence epidemic.
Last week, members of the House judiciary passed a package of six bills, dubbed the Protecting Our Children Act, that followed party lines.
‘Shame on us!’:House committee passes gun bills likely to die in Senate
Senate committees are holding hearings this week on gun laws and white nationalism, which the FBI says were a factor in the Buffalo shooting.
The full House will vote this week on the Protecting Our Children Act, a “red flag” bill and a ban on assault weapons, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But all of those moves are expected to hit a snag in the Senate, where Democrats don’t have the 10 Republican votes needed for their bills to survive a filibuster.
The senses. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., are leading a bipartisan group of senators in negotiations on a gun control package tighter than House Democrats.
The senators’ plans focus on red flag laws, mental health and school safety.
Tuesday evening, these negotiations in the Senate were in progress.
Candy Woodall is a congressional reporter for USA TODAY. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.
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