Suzanna Gratia Hupp Testimony at The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence on March 23, 2021:
“Several years ago, I was with my parents at a local cafeteria, and somebody drove his truck through a floor-to-ceiling window, knocked over a number of tables on his way in. And we, of course, thought it was an accident. My parents and I actually got up to try to help the people that he had knocked over. And then we heard gunshots. And I will tell you, it took a good 45 seconds, which is an eternity, to realize that the guy was simply going to walk around and shoot people. Back then, these mass shootings weren’t happening, and it just wasn’t something that came to my mind immediately.
When I did realize what was happening, my father and I both got down on the floor. We put the table up in front of us. My mother was down behind us and I reached for my purse because I used to carry a gun in my purse. And at that time, in the state of Texas, that was illegal. A few months prior to this event, I had begun to leave my gun out in my car, because I was concerned about losing my license to practice chiropractic. So I watched, completely helplessly, as this man walked around the room and shot people. He executed people like they were fish in a barrel. When my father thought he had an opportunity, he rose up, and he ran at the man. But the guy had complete control over the situation, and he just simply turned and shot my father in the chest.
When I saw what I thought was a chance, I was able to run out a back window that somebody had broken out. I thought my mother followed me, but I later found out from the police officers, who by the way, were one building away, that she had crawled out into the open where my dad lay. She cradled him until the gunman got back around to her. He put a gun to her head. They said, she looked up at him, put her head down, and the man pulled the trigger. That’s how the cops knew who the gunman was. My parents had just had their 47th wedding anniversary, and Mom wasn’t going anywhere without Dad. I was very angry. And of course, when I talk about it, even now, I get very angry. Believe it or not, I’m not mad at the guy that did it, because, in my opinion, that’s somebody who is sick.
The cops said all they had to do was fire a shot into the ceiling, and he rabbeted to a back bathroom alcove area, exchanged some gunfire with them, and then put a bullet in his own head. I was mad as hell at my legislators because they had legislated me and others in that restaurant out of the right to be able to defend ourselves. I had a perfect place to prop my hand. I had a clear shot at the guy, but I was worried about losing my license instead of worrying about my life. Since then, of course, we’ve changed those laws in Texas and all across the nation. Now, people can defend themselves in most places. Most of the mass shootings that have occurred to this date have been in places where people have been told they can’t carry a gun. That’s what these guys want.
They want to rack up a high body bag count. They don’t want any place where somebody can fire back at them. A gun isn’t a guarantee, of course. It changes the odds. That’s all. And I would say, if guns are the problem, then why don’t we see these mass shootings at the dreaded gun show or NRA conventions, places where there are thousands of guns in the hands of at least as many law-abiding citizens. You talk about universal background checks, and I am frankly, completely against them. And here’s why. Eventually, universal background checks become a de facto registration. And even if no one on the dais today is interested in confiscating guns, it certainly makes it fertile ground for some future despite. There are things that can be done. A number of them, I put in my written testimony. And I won’t bore you with it now, but they’re there. There are things that can be done. Let me just finish by saying, 350 million guns in America last year didn’t hurt anyone. And I think that is a staggering statistic. Thank you.”
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