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Gun control debate reaches Senate hearing

Feb. 12, 2013 at 4:47 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Gun violence victims testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee Tuesday, offering varying takes in the face of a contentious debate over gun control.

Suzanna Hupp of Texas, who was eating at Luby's Restaurant in 1991 when a gunman crashed his pickup through the window and opened fire killing 23 people, including her parents, told lawmakers she was outraged no one in the restaurant was able to defend themselves.

"Honestly I don't view myself as a victim of gun violence, I view myself as a victim of a maniac who happened to use a gun as a tool," Hupp said. "And I view myself as a victim of the legislators that we had at the time that left me defenseless."

Hupp would go on to serve 10 years in the Texas legislator and author a book, "From Luby's to Legislature, One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control."

Hupp lamented having left her gun in the car that afternoon while eating lunch with her parents and told senators numerous lives could have been saved if she's carried it -- in violation of Texas concealed carry laws at the time.

"I've got to tell you, I was mad as heck at my legislators because I honestly believe that they legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my family," she said. "And I would much rather be sitting in jail right now with a felony offense on my head and have my parents alive to know their grandchildren."

Speaking later was Sandra J. Wortham, whose brother was shot and killed during a robbery outside the family's home. Her father, a police sergeant, was armed and shot at the perpetrator, but he got away.

She noted the difference between allowing law-abiding citizens from having guns and the effort to keep them away from criminals.

"I don't think that anyone is saying that -- that there should not be a right to bear arms," Wortham said. "I don't think anyone is saying that here. I think what we're saying here is that the Second Amendment doesn't prevent us, you, the lawmaking body here, from looking at ways that we know we can try and reduce the amount of people who shouldn't have guns, from having them, so that the situations like Ms. Hupp's, like ours, like all the families who were here this weekend, we won't see them as much."

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