Rep Andy Biggs accused Democrats of forcing a victim of a mass shooting to relive her trauma on Wednesday after a young girl who survived the Uvalde massacre voluntarily recounted her experience in a pre-recorded video to the House Oversight Commitee.
The contentious moment occurred as the Arizona Republican joined with other GOP members of the panel to protest that firearm restrictions, including a ban on AR-15s, was not necessary after the military-style rifle was used in two massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde last month. His comments referred specifically to the testimony of Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary School, who told lawmakers in a pre-recorded video that she had played dead and covered herself in blood during the shooting to avoid the killer’s notice.
Ms Cerrillo’s testimony came by invitation, not coercion. Numerous witnesses with personal connections to the two shootings at Wednesday’s hearing called on lawmakers to pass restrictions on firearms, a call that conservative lawmakers are attempting to push back on.
“It’s particularly pernicious and outrageous to take an 11-year-old child, who graphically described how she spread a classmate’s blood upon her and feigned her own death, to make her relive that,” Mr Biggs told his Democratic colleagues at the hearing.
“Today, during an Oversight hearing, Democrats used an 11 year old child who witnessed the Uvalde shooting as a political prop to advance their gun confiscation agenda,” Mr Biggs added on Twitter.
“They literally made her relive the trauma after she said she had PTSD from the experience,” charged the congressman.
Wednesday’s hearing followed a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on domestic extremism a day earlier, and occurred amid negotiations in the Senate over legislation to respond to the twin massacres. A ban or further restriction on ownership of an AR-15 or other high-powered rifles is not likely to make it through the 50-50 Senate.
Republicans like Mr Biggs in the House have vowed to oppose any kind of new firearm restrictions, but their votes are largely unnecessary for the chamber’s Democratic majority to get legislation to the Senate.
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