The grandmother of a toddler who was one of the 13 people shot in a Chicago park Thursday night is pleading for an end to the rampant violence that nearly claimed the life of her 3-year-old grandson. But for the parents who have lost children to guns, Thursday’s episode is yet another painful reminder of what Congress needs to do, and failed to do so far, in delivering gun safety legislation.
“My son at the time was 21 years old, he was a senior in college at DePaul University, he had his whole life ahead of him,” said Joy McCormack of the Chicago-based group Citizens for Change, on NewsNation Friday. “I know too well the pain that families across this city and across this nation are suffering.”
McCormack’s son Frankie was killed in 2009; he was shot multiple times at a friend’s Halloween party. Her group is one of many demanding universal background checks for gun buyers.
In April, the Senate fell just shy of the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster on a measure that would have required background checks for private sales at gun shows and on the Internet. An expanded background check bill has also been introduced in the House, but Speaker Boehner has not yet put it to the floor for a vote.
“I think the biggest tragedy, especially after my daughter’s passing, was that Congress had an opportunity,” said Nate Pendleton, whose daughter Hadiya was shot down in Chicago shortly after she performed at President Obama’s second inaugural, on NewsNation Friday. “I believe that they are failing us. We need common sense gun laws, we need universal background checks.”
Police say either one or both of the gunmen involved Thursday’s shooting used an assault-style rifle with a high capacity magazine. As MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee has written, Chicago saw 500 murders last year–the highest number in the country.