Victims of Gun Violence to Attend Obama’s State of the Union Address

Leah Barkoukis

2/12/2013 12:10:00 PM - Leah Barkoukis

During the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama will discuss the issue of gun control, including proposals for an assault weapons ban and universal background checks. He will speak not just to a host of sympathetic Democratic lawmakers, however, but to numerous victims of gun violence as well.

This year, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., is leading an effort to persuade lawmakers to give their guest passes to victims of gun violence. Attending the president’s address will be family members of victims in some of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings, including Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson and Newtown.

Each member of Congress is entitled to one guest ticket for the State of the Union. The White House and Members of congressional leadership get additional guest passes. […]

No Republican members have announced any gun violence victims as their guests to date. According to Langevin’s office, the following Democrats are participating so far:

1. Jim Langevin (RI-2) 2. Keith Ellison (MN-5) 3. Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4) 4. David Cicilline (RI-1) 5. Lois Frankel (FL-22) 6. Gloria Negrete-McLeod (CA-35) 7. Ed Perlmutter (CO-7) 8. Janice Hahn (CA-44) 9. Bobby Scott (VA-3) 10. Brad Schneider (IL-10) 11. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) 12. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) 13. Mike Thompson (CA-5) 14. Jim Himes (CT-4) 15. Tammy Duckworth (IL-8) 16. Diana DeGette (CO-1) 17. Krysten Sinema (AZ-9) 18. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) 19. Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) 20. Chris Van Hollen (MD-8) 21. Lujan Grisham (NM-1) 22. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)

Bringing victims of gun violence as guests serves as an emotional and symbolic reminder of the need for the president’s gun-control proposals. The move is hardly surprising, however—the Democrats’ strategy all along has been to make the emotional case for gun control to convince their colleagues and the public that passing more legislation is the right thing to do, regardless of the facts.