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Tuesday
Nov152011

Tucson Shooting Survivors Urge Congress to Act on Gun Laws

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Survivors of the Tucson, Ariz., shooting rampage that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, raised their voices to Congress on Tuesday, calling for stricter gun laws, while also offering words of encouragement to the recovering congresswoman.

Patricia Maisch, who wrestled the gun clip from alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Fix Gun Checks Act, which would require background checks on anyone who tries to buy a gun, while also tightening rules mandating federal agencies and states to report criminal background activity.

“I am definitely here to remember the names of those we lost, as well as to honor each survivor,” Maisch said. “But my primary mission today is to remind all of you that Tucson is yet another extremely tragic example of what is at stake each and every time a gun falls — or is placed — in the wrong hands.”

Maisch was joined by several others who played a critical role in the moments after Loughner allegedly opened fire in Tucson on Jan. 8.

In addition to the Tucson survivors, more than 50 victims of gun violence from around the country were also present at the Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday, after a day of lobbying their congressional representatives.

The Tucson survivors had words of encouragement for their recovering congresswoman. Maisch had a message for Giffords, who gave her first interview Monday with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.

“I know it’s hard. Keep working,” Maisch said following her testimony. “You’re in my prayers.”

While the guns bill had a tremendous showing of support in the audience, there is opposition to the legislation. A research director of the Independence Institute, David Kopel, who testified before the committee, had sharp criticisms for the proposed law, saying that it would ban gun ownership for anyone who’s ever been ordered to receive treatment for any mental problem.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the author of the legislation, denied Kopel’s assertion that the bill would apply broadly to anyone who’s received counseling, saying that the legislation would only deny gun ownership to individuals who were determined to be mentally ill through adjudication.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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