Hundreds of gun violence survivors have come together to pen an open letter to their government representatives following Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and left more than 500 injured.
“We know firsthand that shootings devastated families and communities across our country every single day, and we will live with the effects of gun violence for the rest of our lives,” says the letter, which was signed by more than 370 survivors from 48 states.
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The letter was released by the Everytown Survivor Network in an effort to urge members of Congress and President Trump to “prioritize American lives over the NRA’s agenda,” according to an Everytown spokesperson.
Las Vegas authorities have yet to determine the motive for gunman 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort after opening fire on the concert crowd of more than 22,000 outside.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the U.S. will “be talking about gun laws as time goes by.”
The following day, Trump visited survivors at Las Vegas’ University Medical Center.
“The mass murder that took place on Sunday night fills America’s heart with grief,” Trump said in an address. “America is truly a nation in mourning.”
The full letter is below:
Open Letter to Congress and the President from Gun Violence Survivors
Our hearts are broken and we stand with the entire Las Vegas community, especially those whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the horrific shooting this week.
Some of us are parents, siblings and children of those killed or wounded by gun violence. Some of us are survivors who have been wounded in shootings or who have witnessed terrible acts of gun violence. Collectively, we have been affected by urban and rural gun violence domestic violence, hate crimes, suicide, mass shootings, unsolved shootings, and unintentional shootings. We know firsthand that shootings devastate families and communities across our country every single day, and we will live with the effects of gun violence for the rest of our lives.
We come from communities across America and we are united in our love for this country. We are also gun owners, veterans, small business owners, educators, doctors and first responders. We are Republicans, Independents, and Democrats. We come from many diverse and different backgrounds, and we are united in our commitment to fighting to keep all of our communities safe. We believe that we can support common-sense policies to prevent gun violence and the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Today, in the wake of the largest mass shooting in modern American history, we are outraged and must decide what kind of country we want to live in. Some Members of Congress say it’s too soon to discuss gun violence prevention in America. We say it’s too late.
Together, we ask you our President and elected representatives in Congress, to commit to meaningful action so fewer families are shattered by the uniquely American nightmare of gun violence.
Together, we ask you to stand up to the leadership of the NRA and vote against legislation gutting our gun safety laws regarding silencers and concealed carry reciprocity. We ask you to reject the NRA’s extremist agenda and pass meaningful legislation, such as comprehensive background checks legislation, to help prevent gun violence in America.
We ask you to remember us and our loved ones when you vote. And if you do not, we pledge to remember you —and replace you— when we vote next November
You must decide where you stand and with whom you will stand.
Will you continue to serve the leadership of the NRA, their blood-stained profits, and their “guns everywhere” agenda? Or will you stand with the overwhelming majority of Americans and gun owners who support common-sense gun laws to keep us safe?
We know where we stand. We stand on the side of fighting to protect our children, families, and communities.
We stand on the side of safety and valuing human life.
We stand on the right side of history.
Will you join us?
How to Help
Anyone with photo or video evidence of the shooting is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
A victims’ fund has been started on GoFundMe by Steve Sisolak, the Clark County, Nevada, commission chair. Other groups providing relief include the local chapter of the American Red Cross and the National Compassion Fund.