Rape Survivor Tells Congress: Gun Control Laws Left Her Helpless

House Democrats are wasting no time in the new Congress scheduling hearings that address their priorities, including a hearing on Wednesday on “gun violence” as part of an effort to pass legislation to require universal background checks for firearm purchases.

Savannah Lindquist was one of the witnesses asked to testify and she was in the minority of speakers in asserting that gun control could leave crime victims helpless — just as she was when she was raped on a gun-free-zone campus in Virginia.

The witness seated next to Lindquist at the hearing, Aalayah Eastmond, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida that was the site of a mass shooting last year, got a standing ovation for calling for strict gun control laws.

Linquist, 24, shared that she believes gun control laws may not only benefit criminals but fail to stop mass shootings or save lives.

“I was living my dream,” Lindquist, 24, said. “I had just begun my senior year of college. I was at my dream school with my dream major. I loved my job and was just months easy from graduating college.”

“I was so excited, especially as a first-generation college student,” Lindquist said.

But that dream quickly changed to a nightmare, Lindquist said, as she was raped and left “shattered.” She dropped out of school and returned to her parents home. 

Still, Lindquist said in her moving testimony that she was not testifying for pity but for common sense legislation.

“I am a gun owner and I was one at the time,” Lindquist said, adding that shooting is a family tradition and that she has handled firearms since she was 10 years old.

“Yes, I could have broken the law and brought my firearm to college,” Lindquist said. “I obeyed the law as a responsible gun owner and it ends up in me being raped.”

“I am just one of countless examples of gun control benefiting assailants and making victims like myself sitting ducks.”

“To be clear, I don’t want your sympathy,” Lindquist said. “What I do want, however, is for you to at least consider stories like mine when you decide to advocate for laws that create additional physical and financial barriers to the right to self-defense.”

Lindquist said that since 1950, 97.8 percent of mass shootings have occurred in the same kind of gun-free zones like the one at her former college.

She also said the Democrats proposed legislation would place more restrictions and cost for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, especially low-income Americans.

“I wasn’t to show you that there are real people with real stories who are being allowed to legally have the firearm could have saved them,” Lindquist said. “Gun owners are a diverse group. No, we are not all Republicans and, no, we’re not all in the NRA.”

“I am neither,” said Lindquist, who is back in school and works as a development and communications coordinator for Ladies of Liberty Alliance. “I am a college student willing to bare her soul to the work if it means people think twice before enacting laws that restrict the right to a reliable means of self-defense.”

Linquist said the 9-millimeter gun that she wears on her hip “allows me to stand tall, stay strong and confidently say, ‘Never again.’”

The Associated Press (AP) reported:

“For far too long, Republicans in Congress have offered moments of silence instead of action in the wake of gun tragedies. That era is over,” Rep. Art Nadler, now chairman of the committee, said at the hearing — the first focuses on “gun violence” in eight years.

“It is evident from the energy and the crowd in this room, as well as the millions of people across the country fighting for sensible gun safety laws, that the public is demanding national legislation,” Nadler said.

Some of the others who testified at the hearing include Joseph V. Sakran, associate chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery and director of emergency general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md.; Chief Art Acevedo, chief of police of the Houston Police Department, Houston, Texas; Joyce Lee Malcolm, professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School, Arlington, Virginia, and Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, San Francisco, California.

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