NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was in Newtown Saturday to talk about gun violence. Her roundtable discussion and press conference were held just one day after a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the families of some Sandy Hook victims against the maker of the gun used in the massacre. The events were already scheduled before the ruling.
Giffords was seriously hurt in a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011. Her stop in Newtown was the 20th on her 14-state National “Vocal Majority” Bus Tour.
Those who attended Saturday’s events wore buttons calling for an end to gun violence and shirts expressing their views on the issue of gun control. People discussed the need to stop gun violence at the roundtable discussion at Newtown’s town hall. It brought together local and national elected leaders and the community, as well as Giffords.
“Stopping gun violence takes courage,” said Giffords. “I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal is hoping Friday’s ruling will lead to change. He says the judge’s decision is irresponsible.
“It bars the courtroom doors to families seeking simple justice, their day in court,” said Blumenthal. “That is un-American.”
At the discussion, leaders talked about steps that need to be taken to reduce gun violence here in Connecticut and across the country. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty believes more research needs to be done to determine why there is so much gun violence in the United States.
“In Japan they had six gun deaths, or at least six gun homicides last year,” said Esty. “America had 33,000 gun deaths.”
The goal of Giffords’s tour is to encourage people who want to change the gun laws to speak out. Elected officials at the event want voters to consider the importance of gun violence prevention when they go to the polls next month.
“Now is the time to come together, be responsible,” said Giffords.
The state judge who threw out the Sandy Hook families’ lawsuit said federal law shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products.
One of the lawyers representing the families said they’ll appeal the ruling.