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State of the Union guests include people touched by gun violence

February 08, 2013|By Wes Venteicher
  • Residents of Newtown, Conn., scene of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting rampage, demonstrate for action on gun control in Washington last month. Some House members say they are inviting people affected by gun violence as their guests at President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Residents of Newtown, Conn., scene of the Sandy Hook Elementary School… (Pete Marovich / European…)

Washington -- More than 20 House Democrats are planning to bring people affected by gun violence to President Obama’s State of the Union address next week as part of an effort to press for new gun control measures in Congress.

Each member of Congress may bring one guest to the State of the Union address, which Obama will deliver Tuesday beginning at 9 p.m. EST. As of Friday afternoon, at least 23 House Democrats had committed to bringing people affected by gun violence, according to Jonathon Dworkin, communications director for  Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.).

Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) on Friday was the latest representative to announce she would join the effort. Pelosi said in a news release she would bring a fourth-grade girl from Newtown, Conn. She said she would not identify the child.

The girl did not go to school at Sandy Hook Elementary, the site of a January shooting rampage, but she  started an online petition asking Obama to change the gun laws, according to the release.

Langevin, along with four other representatives, started the State of the Union effort in January. The other four organizers are Carolyn McCarthy of New York, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

Langevin’s guest will be Jim Tyrell, a Rhode Island resident whose sister was killed during a robbery at a convenience store she owned in Providence.

“Their presence is just going to focus attention on what the cost has been of gun violence,” Dworkin said. “And it shows that not doing anything about it seriously isn’t an option.”

wes.venteicher@latimes.com

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