For the past two days, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been hearing about the toll of gun violence on our country from those impacted firsthand by the recent mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo. Yesterday, Miah Cerrillo, an 11-year-old fourth-grader at Robb Elementary School, testified via a prerecorded video. Cerrillo impassionedly recounted “how she covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot.”
When the 18-year-old began his rampage of violence inside of Robb Elementary School on May 24 with an AR-15-style rifle, the result was the death of 19 children and two teachers, whose lives were brutally and needlessly cut short. In the video, Cerrillo said she watched one of her teachers “get shot in the head before looking for a place to hide.”
During her testimony before the House oversight committee spoke about the harrowing event, “I thought he would come back so I covered myself with blood…I put it all over me and I just stayed quiet.”
Miguel Cerrillo, Miah’s father, asked his daughter if she felt “safe at school anymore.” She shook her head no. When he followed up and asked her, “Why?” She responded: “I don’t want it to happen again.”
With mass shootings on the rise, Congress has been working together on a “bipartisan agreement on gun safety measures.” Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) called the hearing to “focus on the human impact of gun violence and the urgency for lawmakers to enact gun control legislation.”
In her opening remarks, Rep. Maloney said, “I am asking every Member of this Committee to listen with an open heart to the brave witnesses who have come forward to tell their stories about how gun violence has impacted their lives.”
“Our witnesses today have endured pain and loss. Yet they are displaying incredible courage by coming here to ask us to do our jobs,” she continued.
In addition to Cerrillo’s testimony, the panel also heard from Zeneta Everhart, mother to 21-year-old Zaire, who was shot in the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting. Everhart pleaded with Congress to do their duty and draft legislation that could have protected her son and other Americans.
Everhart told Congress if they did not find the testimony moving enough to act on gun laws, they had an invitation to go to her home to help her clean her son’s wounds.
“My son Zaire has a hole in the right side of his neck, two on his back, and another on his left leg,” she said. “As I clean his wounds, I can feel pieces of that bullet in his back. Shrapnel will be left inside of his body for the rest of his life. Now I want you to picture that exact scenario for one of your children.”
Also on the panel were Felix and Kimberly Rubio, parents of Lexi Rubio, who perished in a Uvalde classroom. They told the story of how they discovered their daughter had died mere hours after leaving her school awards ceremony on the morning of May 24.
Kimberly ran a mile barefoot holding her sandals in her hand, trying to get to the elementary school. She said she reached a point where “some part of me must have realized she was gone.”
Shortly after she was told her daughter was among the 19 killed.
After the hearing was over, the Democratic-led House passed legislation that would raise the age limit for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle and prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.
However, the legislation is not likely pass in the Senate.