Actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith (second right) speaks during a press conference hosted by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence with (L-R) singer Tony Bennett, LCPGV Executive Director Robyn Thomas, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), actor Adam Scott and actor Chris Rock at the US Captiol yesterday in Washington, DC. The artistes, activists and politicians called for manditory background checks on all gun purchases among other restrictions.
Hollywood celebrities and children of slain Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy joined shooting victims yesterday in demanding tougher action from US lawmakers on reducing gun violence.
Comedian Chris Rock, ageing Grammy-winner Tony Bennett and actress Amanda Peet brought their starpower to Congress to press for legislation that outlaws military-style assault weapons, mandates background checks for all gun purchases, and makes arms trafficking a federal crime.
Such proposals have been introduced or are being drafted, but Congress has yet to act.
“I still haven’t gotten over Connecticut,” a somber Bennett told reporters, referring to the December massacre at a school in Newtown, where a gunman slaughtered 20 children and six adults.
Bennett, a self-described pacifist, said he believed assault weapons like the ones President Barack Obama and some Democratic US lawmakers want banned “were invented for war, and they they shouldn’t be on our streets.”
The 86-year-old singer spoke at an event hosted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Following the Newtown tragedy, Obama laid out proposals to stem rampant gun violence, but none of the related legislation has been brought to a vote.
Peet, who starred in catastrophe epic 2012, said she was ashamed that lawmakers had yet to band together to improve safety despite the “staggering” number of gun fatalities. “What’s the alternative? Doing nothing will fail. Doing nothing has failed,” she said.
Rock, standing among violence victims like Stephen Barton, who suffered shotgun injuries during the movie theatre massacre last year in Aurora, Colorado, said he joined the event to show support for Obama’s proposals.