A group of US Republican legislators who wore pearl necklaces to a hearing for a bill that would tighten gun restrictions has been slammed as an insult to victims of gun violence.
The stunt was at a hearing in the New Hampshire house of representatives, amid debate over a bill that would make it easier to stop dangerous people accessing guns.
Of the 13 legislators, five wore pearls around their necks to imply the gun-control activists testifying about their experiences before them were “clutching their pearls” in self-righteous outrage.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 5, 2019
It comes as statistics show 14,718 people were killed by gun violence in the United States last year.
Most recently a man was shot dead in Baltimore as he walked along a residential street just after 7pm on Monday night.
Fourteen states have already passed the legislation that would ‘red flag’ potentially dangerous people who have demonstrated they might use a gun to kill.
New Hampshire is still deciding on the bill, however, given that Democrats control the House, it is likely the bill will pass.
The advocates at Tuesday’s hearing were from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots movement formed by women fighting for safer gun laws.
Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts said she felt mocked by the legislators and shared photos of the incident to her 294,000 Twitter followers.
“It really is shameful to behave that way when your constituents are being brave enough to share their stories,” Ms Watts told the Washington Post.
“They clearly did not come to this hearing with open minds or compassion for their constituents.”
This brave Tennessee @MomsDemand lost her son to gun violence, and came to Nashville to share her story so other parents won’t have to endure the terrible loss that she has. #TNLeg #SurvivorStrong pic.twitter.com/ooQcnNxTdU
— Rebecca Truszkowski (@RTruszkowski) March 6, 2019
Ms Watts founded Moms Demand Action the day after 20 children, aged 6 and 7, were fatally shot by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
The bill, known as a ‘red flag’ law, would allow family members and law enforcement agencies to obtain court orders that restrict gun access for people who may pose an immediate risk to themselves or others.
The three Republican lawmakers clearly identifiable in Ms Watts’ photos are state representatives Daryl Abbas, Scott Wallace and David Welch.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 6, 2019
Ms Watts said she hoped the volunteers who attended the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing in New Hampshire would consider “running against the men who had the audacity to mock the legislative process”.
Gun violence continues to be a heated topic in US political debate.
One of the worst mass shootings in recent years occurred in Las Vegas in 2017, when a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music venue, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 515.
In response to a school shooting in Florida last year that claimed the lives of 17 students and teachers, President Donald Trump said he would consider a proposal to arm school teachers in an effort to prevent mass shootings.
Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2018