WASHINGTON D.C., July 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) introduced the Help End Assault Rifle Tragedies (HEART) Act on Capitol Hill Tuesday. The act would prohibit children from possessing or firing machine guns and assault weapons.
The HEART Act was inspired by the "We Have A Voice" campaign from the children of Charles Vacca, a gun instructor who died in 2014 when a 9-year-old learning to shoot an Uzi at an Arizona gun range shot him in the head. Sen. Markey and Rep. Gallego joined Vacca's children, Christopher (13), Tylor (15), Elizabeth (17) and Ashley (21), and their attorneys, Marc Lamber and James Goodnow, in offering remarks at a packed house, standing-room-only press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.
"Assault weapons are weapons of war and should not be allowed in the hands of children," said Sen. Markey. HEART Act co-sponsor Rep. Gallego added, "I believe that there is room for bipartisan compromise in working to ensure that Americans practice responsible gun ownership at all times. Incidents across the country have proven that kids and powerful firearms are a dangerous and tragic mix."
Vacca's children explained the reason for the bill. "It defies common sense that children can shoot fully automatic machine guns and assault weapons. Can anything be more crazy?" asked Ashley Moser-Vacca. Tylor Vacca added, "If adults can't get it done, we will. We're asking everyone, please help us. Go to the petition and support the HEART Act. Sign your name. Tell the adults. Tell Congress. It's time for action."
Marc Lamber explained the movement's significance: "Since losing their father, the Vacca children have been disappointed that nothing has changed. So the kids launched their petition to reach across generational lines and to call out the voices of the youth. While the voice of any one child may not be loud, the Vacca kids believe the collective voice of their generation can tip the scales."
James Goodnow summed up the event and HEART Act, saying: "Today it's the children who are setting the example. It's the children who are standing up and leading on this issue. It's the children who are saying, 'we have a voice.' It's time for us to listen."
The Vacca kids' petition can be found on a page set up on their behalf by their attorneys.
SOURCE Lamber Goodnow