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Zeneta Everhart could still feel bullets in her son’s back as she cleaned his wounds. Everhart’s son, Zaire, has literal holes in his body following a white supremacist attack on Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, NY, where he was working on May 14, 2022.
Unlike the 10 Black souls extinguished in the unprovoked attack, Everhart’s son survived. Yet, as she testified to Congress on Wednesday, she passionately pleaded for immediate action on gun reform to prevent a future attack.
“As I clean his wounds, I can feel pieces of the bullet in his back,” Everhart said on Wednesday, according to WSYR-TV in Syracuse, NY. “Shrapnel will be left inside of his body for the rest of his life. now I want you to picture that exact scenario for one of your children.”
Everhart gave opening statements to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during a hearing Wednesday, June 8 hearing titled, “The Urgent Need to Address The Gun Violence Epidemic.”
“This hearing is ultimately about saving lives, and I hope it will galvanize my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation to do just that,” Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said.
Congress pressured to pass gun reform after Buffalo shooting, Uvalde shooting, Tulsa shooting, and others
Following a string of mass shootings in recent months, including the massacre of 19 children at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, and a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma, President Biden called for Congress to either ban assault rifles or raise the purchasing age to 21, among other proposals.
Notably, the House passed a sweeping gun reform measure this week. If passed by the Senate and signed by the president, it would raise the purchasing age of assault rifles from 18 to 21 and strengthen regulations around storage and ghost guns.
A day earlier, Zeneta Everhart, son of Buffalo shooting survivor Zaire, made it clear she wanted Congress to take action.
“To the lawmakers who feel we do not need stricter gun laws let me paint a picture for you. My son Zaire has a hole in the right side of his neck, two on his back and another on his left leg caused by an exploding bullet from an AR 15.”
Bipartisan negotiations underway
While it’s unlikely Senate Democrats will achieve the 10 Republican votes needed to pass substantial, responsible gun legislation, bipartisan talks are currently underway. Republican Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are leading the talks on gun reform as Congress seeks to pass a law that produces solutions while not infringing on the Second Amendment.
According to Politico: the Senators are “focused on a package that would reform background checks, encourage state red flag laws, enhance school safety and provide new mental health programs.”
Nearly two dozen mass shootings have occurred in the U.S. in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which classifies a mass shootings as one in which at least four people are shot.
So far, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said he will give Senators time to negotiate, however, it’s unclear what will come out of the talks.