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Shooting Victims’ Families Present Opposing Views At Hearing On Gun Control

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The family members’ of several people killed by gun violence presented differing views on gun control Tuesday, at a Senate subcommittee hearing chaired by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports Durbin opened the hearing saying gun violence has affected the lives of too many people.

“This is not some abstract legal debate,” he said.


A Senate Judiciary subcommittee heard from two witnesses who both lost loved ones to shootings, but had opposing views on how to address gun violence.

Sandra Wortham, whose brother, Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV, was shot dead by robbers outside their parents’ home three years ago, called for a common-sense approach to gun laws.

“It isn’t about the right to lawfully own guns, this is about trying our best to keep guns out of the hands of the people like people who killed my brother,” she said.

She told the panel that, two weeks before his death, her brother was quoted in a story in the Chicago Tribune.

“He said, ‘When people think of the South Side of Chicago, they think violence.’ And he went on to say, ‘We’re going to fix it, so it doesn’t happen again,’” she said. “So Thomas is dead, obviously, but I’m here today, my parents are here today, I think all of these families were here today because we still believe that we can fix it.”

But former Texas state lawmaker Suzanna Hupp, whose parents were among 23 people slain by a crazed gunman a Texas diner in 1991, said she could have saved their lives if not for the gun laws at the time.

“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.”

Others attending the hearing included Cleopatra Cowley and Nathaniel Pendleton –the parents of slain Chicago honor student Hadiya Pendleton – and Mary Kay Mace, whose daughter Ryanne was one of five students killed at Northern Illinois University in a shooting five years ago.

Durbin supports tougher gun laws, but some Republicans on the committee said that’s not the answer.