House holds moment of silence to remember the 19 victims of Tucson mass shooting on Jan. 8, 2011, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
The House of Representatives observed a moment of silence Wednesday afternoon for the victims of the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting in Tucson that left six dead and 13 injured, including then-Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Prior to the moment of silence, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), who serves in Giffords’ former seat, honored the victims with Giffords and the rest of Arizona’s congressional delegation standing by her side.
On that day at 10:10 a.m., Kirkpatrick said a shooter opened fire at an outdoor “Congress On Your Corner” event at a Safeway grocery store in Tucson. In “a despicable act of violence that shocked the nation,” the shooter, Jared Loughner, shot 33 rounds in less than 20 seconds. Three citizens intervened and ended the attack while Loughner reloaded his gun.
“Had they not done so, many more people would have died or been wounded,” Kirkpatrick said.
After recalling the tragic events of that day, the Congresswoman called out the names of all the victims and thanked the public and first responders. Tucson has never witnessed such a tragedy before, Kirkpatrick said, but Tusconians did not “let this horrific tragedy” define them.
“I am so honored that our colleague, Gabby Gifford, is with us tonight,” Kirkpatrick concluded, sparking a round of applause from House members.
Giffords, Kirkpatrick said, served with great distinction, and remains a champion for smart gun reform. She then called out the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8), which passed the House last February in a 240-190 vote, but is still awaiting approval in the Senate.
Kirkpatrick said the bipartisan legislation keeps guns out of the hands of people prohibited from purchasing them. It would do so by making firearm transfers illegal between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer conducts a background check first – except in some cases, like good faith gifts between spouses. It would also eliminate loopholes in background checks.
Overall, Kirkpatrick said the legislation would ensure gun purchases are consistent with America’s laws, and will not prevent responsible gun owners from buying guns.
Although the legislation has 232 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to stall the bill from being brought to a vote in the Senate.
“I look forward to the debate we will have on H.R. 8,” Kirkpatrick said. “Gun violence is a public health problem and must be addressed.”
In addition to the moment of silence today, Kirkpatrick introduced a bill designating downtown Tucson’s January 8th Memorial – currently under construction – as a national memorial affiliated with the National Park System.
In response to today’s remembrance, Giffords tweeted, “After I was shot, I struggled with the lives we lost that day. But from great loss, we created profound change. As I worked to regain my strength, we built a strong social movement to prevent future tragedies. As I worked to find my words again, America found its voice.”