Lawmakers hold moment of silence on House floor to honor Uvalde victims

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) addresses reporters after a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Greg Nash

Lawmakers held a moment of silence on the House floor on Tuesday to commemorate the individuals who died in last month’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Nineteen students and two adults were fatally shot when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The massacre is the second-deadliest school shooting on record.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), the lawmaker whose district includes Uvalde, led the moment of silence on the House floor. He was surrounded by other members of the Texas congressional delegation.

“On May 24, 2022, 19 children and two teachers were killed by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. My district, but a reflection of every small town in America,” Gonzales said.

“I mourn with the Uvalde community, and I pray for healing and comfort for the families and the communities for the loss of the following members,” he added, before reading the names of all 21 victims.

He said the 21 individuals killed “have become innocent victims of senseless violence.”

Lawmakers in the chamber stood and bowed their heads for the moment of silence, which lasted just under one minute.

The Uvalde shooting took place 10 days after a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., killing 10 Black individuals. The pair of mass shootings have reignited the gun debate on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers now looking to push through legislation to address firearms in the U.S.

The House is set to vote on a sweeping package on Wednesday that seeks to raise the minimum age to buy semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21 and ban civilians from having high-capacity magazines of more than 10 rounds, among other measures.

The lower chamber will also vote on a separate bill that aims to nationalize red flag laws, which would allow courts to order firearms to be removed from individuals deemed a threat to themselves and others.

The moment of silence came one day before the House Oversight and Reform Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on gun violence, featuring testimony from parents of victims and 11-year-old Robb Elementary School student Miah Cerrillo, who survived the shooting.

Cerrillo told CNN that she covered herself in her friend’s blood and acted like she was dead to protect herself amid the violence.

Felix Rubio and Kimberly Rubio — the parents of Lexi Rubio, a victim of the Uvalde shooting — and Zeneta Everhart — the mother of Zaire Goodman, who was injured in the Buffalo massacre — are also scheduled to testify, in addition to a pediatrician from Uvalde and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, among others.

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