A few minutes ago, Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker, along with Virginia Senate and House Democrats, a swell as a local high school student, held a virtual press conference to discuss Lt. Governor Winsome Sears being the Keynote speaker at the NRA convention in Texas today, just days “after the mass school shooting at Robb Elementary School, leaving 21 dead, including 19 children.” Speakers on the call included State Senator Jeremy McPike, Delegate Kathleen Murphy, Delegate Elizabeth Guzman,, DPVA Chair Susan Swecker and a local high school student. See below for video and highlights:
- An emotional DPVA Chair Swecker talked about the 19 children who were murdered in Uvalde, Texas and “who should never have been taken from this world so soon.” Swecker added that this could “just as easily have been here in our communities.” She declared, “enough is enough,” and said it’s “utterly disgusting” that LG Winsome Sears “is going to be the keynote speaking at the NRA convention today,” “just days after” the Uvalde massacre. According to Swecker, “it’s an abomination to the victims of this shooting and an embarrassment to the Commonwealth.” Swecker asked Gov. Youngkin, “do you support your ticketmate and Lt. Governor in this? did you ask her not to go? if you didn’t, you should – why not?”
- A Virginia high school student talked about being scared, and her friends being scared, by these shootings. She talked about “fear and constant anxiety” and how “this isn’t normal and it shouldn’t be happening.”
- Del. Kathleen Murphy said she is “the sister of a murdered brother,” and how she has tried to get gun control bills through every year, yet Republicans have blocked them. She added, “guns are not more important than people’s lives.” She said she spoke with Gov. Youngkin yesterday and “told him…it’s time for him to take action…we don’t need any more thoughts and prayers…we need life-saving gun safety measures, and that’s what I’m asking…come forward and be a leader.“
- Del. Elizabeth Guzman said “in one week, we have had two mass shootings that have attacked communities of color” (in Buffalo and Uvalde). She said that the children in Uvalde “look like my own kids” and this shooting “hits close to home” and “it needs to come to an end.” She added: “I am mad, I am mad that we have a Republican Party that refuses to even address the root cause of this issue – the availability of guns across the country. Instead of solving the problem, they’re embracing the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers who are [complicit] in these acts of gun violence. Look no farther than Lt. Gov. Sears, an immigrant herself, who will be speaking at an NRA event today in Texas. This is a slap in the face to the victims and to the Latinx community… Her appearance at this event is shameful.” Then Del. Guzman read the names of the victims and pledged “we will remember you” and “will continue to hold Republicans accountable.”
- Sen. Jeremy McPike said “we cannot become desensitized to these horrific acts of gun violence,” such as “what happened in Uvalde, TX this past Tuesday.” He said that “gun violence is an epidemic,” including here in Virginia, where “we lose over 1,000 Virginians per year to senseless, preventable acts of gun violence – and it must stop.” Sen. McPike added that Republicans “have shown Virginians time and again where their allegiances stand, and now we have our Lt. Governor speaking today at the annual NRA convention. Not only that, our governor has been silent and Virginians deserve to know where our governor stands on his own Lt. Governor speaking at the NRA convention. But so far, the governor has done everything in his power to sidestep any tough questions on this tragedy and has reverted to empty political gestures…[he] refuses to have any discussion about the root of the problem – the incredibly easy access to guns.”
DPVA Chair, House and Senate Democrats, and Local High Schooler Held Press Call on Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears Speaking at NRA Event after Mass Shootings
Richmond, VA – Today, DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker, Senate and House Democrats, and a local high school a student held a virtual press conference on Lt. Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, being the Keynote speaker at an NRA event today after the mass school shooting at Robb Elementary School, leaving 21 dead, including 19 children.
Chairwoman Susan Swecker, local high school student Sophie Christianson, Delegate Guzman, Delegate Murphy, and Senator McPike all gave remarks on the recent tragedy at Robb Elementary School and called out the despicable behavior from Lt. Governor Sears and Republicans for embracing the gun lobby.
“The day after the shooting, we find out that our Lt. Governor Winsome Sears will be the Keynote Speaker at the NRA convention today,” said DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “It is an abomination to the victims of this shooting and an embarrassment to Virginia. Today I ask Governor Glenn Youngkin – “Do you support your ticket mate and Lt. Gov. in this? Did you ask her not go to? If you didn’t you should. Why not?”
“I was only 6 when Sandy Hook happened, and I am now 16 years old when Robb Elementary School happened,” said local High School student Sophie Christianson. “I just want to be a teenager. I don’t want to have to fear for my life every day I go to school. This isn’t normal and it should not be happening.”
“Virginians deserve to know where our Governor stands on his own Lt. Governor speaking at the NRA convention,” said Senator Jeremy McPike. “After the three recent shootings in Buffalo, Laguna Springs and in Texas, the Governor has failed to address the underlying issue and refuses to have any discussion about the root of the problem – the incredibly easy access to guns.”
“My community, my Latino community, has been attacked once again,” Delegate Elizabeth Guzman. “My people are hurting, our wounds have been reopened and the grief cuts deeper…Instead of solving the problem, they are embracing the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers who are complacent in these acts of gun violence. Look no further than Lt. Governor Sears who will be speaking at the NRA event today in Texas. This is a slap in the face to the victims and the Latino community.”
“Let me be clear, Governor Youngkin has also remained silent on this. He has said nothing about his second in command, his Lt. Governor speaking at the NRA convention, “said Delegate Kathleen Murphy. “The NRA is actively working to kill any legislation to find a solution to the gun epidemic and no one should be supporting them, nonetheless speaking at their rally. Our children are dying, our kids are afraid to go back to school, and this is happening too much. We need to act, We need to prevent the next tragedy.”