Mother of Newtown shooting victim to be Frankel’s guest at State of the Union

Freshman Congresswoman Lois Frankel has invited the mother of a Newtown shooting victim as her guest to her first State of the Union, Tuesday evening.

Frankel’s guest, Lynn McDonnell is the mother of Grace, 7, who was killed in the schoolhouse masacre. Lynn McDonnell’s husband Chris will also attend the speech as a guest of U.S. Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Calif.

“Like so many Americans I have been inspired and moved by the families who lost loved ones in the Newtown tragedy,” Frankel, D-Boca Raton, said in a news release. “When I look into the eyes of Newtown parents like Lynn and Chris McDonnell, I want to be able to tell them that our kids should have the freedom to be safe at school and that our Congress is ready to pass meaningful laws that will help prevent future gun violence tragedies.”

Frankel serves on the congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and is co-sponsoring several measures aimed at curbing gun violence. They include: a ban on high capacity magazines; requiring criminal background checks for all firearms purchased at gun shows; banning assault weapons; requiring universal background checks; and closing loopholes that allow gun purchasers to avoid a background check altogether; and strengthening mental health programs.

Lynn and Chris McDonnell gave the president one of Grace’s paintings, which now hangs in his private study off the Oval Office. President Obama spoke about the girl during an event last month when he unveiled several proposals aimed at reducing gun violence. Obama said then: “Every time I look at that painting, I think about Grace and I think about the life that she lived and the life that lay ahead of her. And most of all, I think about when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now for Grace, for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give.”

After Grace’s death, the McDonnell’s was interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. In a letter from Lynn that Cooper shared on-air, she said: “I’m going to take on the world for our Gracie girl, for I myself have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

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