On Wednesday, CNN's Chris Cuomo hosted a town hall with survivors of mass shootings, titled "America Under Assault: The Gun Crisis," listening to their stories and their suggestions for national change.
At the outset, however, Cuomo opened by blasting the National Rifle Association for its cowardice.
"It's been a tough week, but we should not waste this moment," said Cuomo. "So let's take a breath and talk and take the time to listen. We've put together a beautiful program for you tonight with some of the most prominent voices, and they have very different ideas about protecting our society from gun violence. And I am surrounded by a gift tonight, the strength of survivors, the same kind of strength I saw on the ground in El Paso. This audience traveled from far and wide, thank you for dealing with the elements, and they did so to represent their communities."
"How do we heal when this happens to us? No one and nowhere is immune," said Cuomo. "El Paso, Dayton, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Chicago, many of the people here survived the bullets that tore through their bodies, changed their lives and changed their communities. Many lost loved ones. Some are advocates for reform. Some work in the firearm industry. Others work to limit that industry's reach."
"We also invited the National Rifle Association to be a part of this, they declined," Cuomo continued. "I guess they want to do their talking with propaganda ads and millions in lobbying. Besides, let's be honest, the gun lobby is not going to be the answer. And that shouldn't be expected anymore than we expected Big Tobacco to help us expose the ills of smoking."
"The reality is, people like you are the answer, and there can be no sides when it comes to wanting to be safer, better protected," said Cuomo. "Let's use this moment, let's connect and confront what should be obvious by now. The other special interest involved tonight is our collective interest in dying less this way."