STATEMENT: Gabby Giffords Marks Anniversary of Tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech, As Students Continue Calls for Change

April 16, 2018 —  Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, released a statement noting this week marks the 11th anniversary of the shooting at Virginia Tech, and the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School. Later this week, students, joined by teachers and families across the country, will participate in a nationwide day of action against gun violence on April 20th.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords:  

“After Columbine, we wondered if our kids could be safe going to high school. After Virginia Tech, we wondered if we could do more to protect students at our college campuses. After each tragedy, America’s politicians said, ‘never again.’ They vowed to do more to protect our kids. But after nearly two decades of inaction, it’s become clear they failed in their basic moral responsibility to keep our nation’s children safe.

“Students in America now consider live shooter drills as a routine part of the school year. They have to worry if their school, their community, their friends and family could be next. In a country where we have not broken the pattern of mass shootings, not broken the cycles of violence in urban communities, not broken the deadly nexus between gun violence and domestic abuse, not broken the corrupt influence that special interests have on our politics – in this country, kids must still fear for their lives.

“But after the mass shooting at Parkland, a generation of students declared they would not sit idly by. They would use one of our most powerful tools as American citizens – our voices – to demand a change to the status quo. They are marching, they are participating, and they are warning politicians to show the courage to address the crisis of gun violence or get voted out. That means that this week’s anniversary is also going to be another opportunity to organize and to take a stand. To renew our call for action to keep our kids and communities safe.

“This week we remember the victims of these two schools – and of all gun violence tragedies. We will remind our leaders that thoughts and prayers will not suffice. It’s time to fight for a Congress that will take the side of the American people who want to see this crisis end – now. Politicians can find the courage to change by simply listening to America’s call for safety.”

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Giffords is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence. Led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Giffords inspires the courage of people from all walks of life to make America safer.