Gun rights advocates Chris Cheng, Suzanna Gratia Hupp, and Geneva Solomon were among those testifying at the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Gun Violence Prevention on March 23, 2021. The hearing was announced a week ago and was held to discuss ways to reduce gun violence. The hearing focused on ways to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and implement other policies.
You can view the entire hearing in the video below, or scroll for testimony excerpts from Cheng, Gratia Hupp, and Solomon.
Chris Cheng is a tech-geek turned competitive shooter, Top Shot winner, and gun rights advocate.
"We are here to discuss effectively reducing violence without punishing law-abiding citizens.
With the 149% rise in anti-Asian American violence over the past year, Asian Americans are flocking to gun stores and private gun owners in droves, many seeking to purchase their first firearm. There is a real and imminent threat. We need to defend ourselves. Not three days or 20 days from now, but today. Right now. With increased pressure and decreasing budgets for first responders and police, I encourage people to train to be their own first responder. There is no guarantee that help will arrive in time.
At the core of our country’s violence problem is not firearms,or any weapon for that matter. The root causes of human violence and hate are many: socioeconomic, low self-esteem, lack of mental health resources, lack of community, lack of educational and job opportunities, and a lack of humanity. Let me be explicit, violence and hate are the symptoms we see. The causes are lack of economic opportunity, emotional security, self-esteem, mental healthcare, and a supportive family and community life.
Congress must focus on the actual causes of hate and violence, which will have a real, meaningful impact on making America safer.These bills will not make an impact on gun violence. To have a meaningful impact, our courts must not dismiss charges or be lenient on those who break the existing laws. We should be enforcing the laws already enacted. In fact, my quintessential American success story proves that with proper education and training, anyone can learn gun safety. I would be happy to provide anyone on the Committee a lesson in the appropriate venue."
Read the rest of Chris Cheng's testimony HERE.
Suzzana Gratia Hupp's parents were killed - along with 21 others - when a man started shooting in a Luby's Cafeteria in 1991 after running his truck through the restaurant. Hupp was a gun owner, but was following state law at the time and left her revolver in the car.
"You want to talk about the cost of gun violence? Well, I can tell you the cost of gun control on October 16th, 1991: my parents and twenty one other innocent lives, several of whom had dutifully left their guns in their cars to comply with the law.
Is having a gun a guarantee? Of course not. My gun could have jammed (a revolver at the time, so not likely). I could have missed (true, but I’ve hit much smaller targets at much greater distances). The one thing you can’t really deny, is that IT WOULD HAVE CHANGED THE ODDS. These creeps rarely go to places where people can defend themselves. They go where they can rack up a high body bag count, and that is where good people, families, can’t fight back.
Since that day in ‘91, we have seen many, many more of these terrible events. And the vast majority of them have occurred in places where guns are not allowed and good people are not allowed to protect themselves. Restaurants, post offices, schools, daycares, dance clubs, theaters, print shops. Nearly every one of them had a sign depicting a red circle with a line through a handgun. Explain this to me: if guns are the problem, then why haven’t we seen any of these mass shootings at NRA conventions, skeet and trap competitions, or the dreaded gun show...places where there are thousands of guns in the hands of law abiding citizens?
So if you want to make a difference, you can start by speaking truthfully and accurately, without misleading rhetoric. Next, you could rid us of public gun-free zones. No guarantee, but again, it changes the odds. Defensive uses of guns are estimated at between 2.2 to 2.5 million annually (that estimate coming from a self-proclaimed “liberal” professor who didn’t own a gun at the time, Dr. Gary Kleck).
Here’s an idea for legislation, since everyone is anxious to “do something.” Create a law that makes it crystal clear that if a property/business owner/employer strips people of their right to protect themselves (by disallowing concealed or open carry), that he or she becomes not only responsible for your safety, but financially liable as well. Should a bad guy come in and shoot or otherwise harm people then they have failed in their end of an implied contract. In those cases, I believe there is culpability similar to what we currently use in child endangerment laws. I can promise that if something ever happens to any of my loved ones in a place that has disarmed them, I will sue the pants off of that entity to make the point."
Read all of Hupp's testimony at HERE.
Geneva Solomon, owner of RedStone Firearms and Dir. of Internal Comm. for the National African American Gun Association shared her story as well.
"First I want to introduce myself and explain more about my history as a responsible gun owner. As a survivor of domestic violence I found myself, 13 years ago, realizing that I am my own first responder and took the necessary steps to make sure that I would be able to protect myself and my small child from any harm. My decision was to purchase a handgun to make sure I felt secure within my home. However, I didn’t just purchase a handgun I also spent a great deal of time training and learning the local firearm laws. Unfortunately the 10 days I had to wait to pick up my first firearm was a terrifying experience as that is the required waiting period in the state of California for responsible gun owners.
Fast forward to present day I am now a Firearms Educator, Firearm Store Co-Owner, member and advocate of the National African American Gun Association. As a firearms store owner in California I have seen first hand how difficult and challenging navigating firearm laws here have scared and prevented many residents from practicing their right responsibly. When laws are hard to navigate and understand this often leads too incorrect and bad behaviors thus increasing firearm accidents.
As a result my husband and I have dedicated our lives to ensuring our communities have the resources and knowledge they need to be successful in the firearm space, as we know its a difficult path to navigate. The Second Amendment is by far one of the most misunderstood and controversial amendments of our Constitution. While many would like to see laws created that would further impede on our right to bear arms, I look forward to using my time to continue to educate on what it means to be a responsible firearm owner, how many of us successfully utilize these practices on a daily basis, and how common sense gun knowledge can aide in the retainment of our rights."
Read more testimonies, watch the video, or check out all of the related files associated with the hearing HERE.