On Monday, a U.S. lawmaker walked out of a moment of silence on Capitol Hill meant to mourn the victims of Sunday’s deadly attack on churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and instead called for action on gun control in a video posted to Facebook.
“I respect their right to do that,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-California, said in the video, shot outside the House of Representative chambers as lawmakers within held their moment of silence Monday. “I myself have taken part in many of them. But I can’t do this again.”
Lieu said he was “heartbroken” by news that 26 people were shot dead and 20 others injured in an attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday. Authorities identified the gunman as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, and said on Monday that the shooting might have been prompted by a domestic spat between himself and his mother-in-law, who sometimes attended the church.
Investigators said those killed ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years old.
“I’ve been to too many moments of silence. In just my short career, three of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred,” Lieu said, referencing attacks in Florida and Las Vegas.
Lieu was sworn into office in January 2015. On June 13, 2016, 49 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on revelers at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. On Oct. 1, 58 people were killed while attending an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas.
The Sutherland Springs shooting on Sunday was the fifth-worst mass shooting in the U.S. going back to August 1966, according to information compiled by the Austin American-Statesman.
“We need action,” Lieu said. “We need to pass gun safety legislation now.”
Lieu called for laws to ban assault rifles and bump stocks, and to mandate a universal background check for gun sales.
The Senate Judiciary Committee said Monday that a hearing will be held on bump stocks, The Hill reported. It was unclear when the hearing would be held, although Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told Politico that the hearing will be "soon."
Authorities said the man behind the Las Vegas shooting fitted guns used in the attack with bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at nearly the same rate as automatic weapons.
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