Eric Adams

‘It's High Noon in America': NYC Mayor Eric Adams Testifies Before Congress on Gun Violence

Adams was among various individuals who testified Wednesday morning before Congress, asking for gun restrictions following a number of mass shootings

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivered testimony Wednesday to the U.S. House Committee on the ongoing national gun violence pandemic, calling for Congress to “bring an end to gun violence,” warning that “the clock is ticking every day, every minute, towards another hour of death.” 

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is high noon in America," Adams said. "Time for every one of us to decide where we stand on the issue of gun violence."

Adams was among the many others who testified before the House committee urging for Congress to act and curb America's gun violence epidemic. Among others who testified were the parents of victims and survivors of the mass shooting in Buffalo and Uvalde.

An 11-year-old girl who survived the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, recounted in video testimony to Congress on Wednesday how she covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot and “just stayed quiet.”

Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary School -- where 19 children and two teachers died when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle on May 24 -- told lawmakers in a pre-recorded video that she watched a teacher get shot in the head before looking for a place to hide.

“I thought he would come back so I covered myself with blood,” Miah told the House panel. “I put it all over me and I just stayed quiet.” She called 911 using the deceased teacher's phone and pleaded for help.

In the video Wednesday, Miah's father, Miguel Cerillo, asks his daughter if she feels safe at school anymore. She shook her head no, saying she is afraid it will happen again.

The panel for Wednesday’s hearing included testimony from the mother of a 20-year-old man who was shot in a racist mass shooting last month in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

Zeneta Everhart told lawmakers it was their duty to draft legislation that protects Zaire and other Americans. She said that if they did not find the testimony moving enough to act on gun laws, they had an invitation to go to her home to help her clean her son’s wounds.

“My son Zaire has a hole in the right side of his neck, two on his back, and another on his left leg,” she said, then paused to compose herself. “As I clean his wounds, I can feel pieces of that bullet in his back. Shrapnel will be left inside of his body for the rest of his life. Now I want you to picture that exact scenario for one of your children.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, opened the hearing by calling mass shootings a "uniquely American tragedy." 

Maloney called for a ban on assault weapons, arguing that the "Second Amendment does not protect the right to own a weapon of war."

The Oversight committee, controlled by a Democratic majority, is no stranger to examining gun violence in America. But the recent spate of killings has reached a boiling point on Capitol Hill and around the country.

Last week, President Joe Biden issued his strongest appeal yet for Congress to take action on guns as bipartisan talks are intensifying among a core group of senators.

But lawmakers have been here before — unable to pass any substantial gun safety laws in decades in the face of steep objections from Republicans in Congress, some conservative Democrats, and the fierce lobbying of gun owners and the National Rifle Association. No major legislation has made it into law since the 1994 assault weapons ban, which has since expired.

“It is high noon in America. The clock is ticking, every day, every minute towards another hour of death," Adams said in part during his testimony. “I am here today to ask every one of you, and everyone in this Congress, to stand with me to end gun violence and protect the lives of all Americans.

We are facing a crisis that is killing more Americans than war.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams

“We are facing a crisis that is killing more Americans than war. A crisis that is now the number one cause of death for our young people," he continued. “A crisis that is flooding our cities with illegal guns faster than we can take them off the street."

New York City has also seen its fair share of gun violence with the mass subway shooting in Brooklyn, incidents of multiple kids getting shot, as well as stray bullets impacting residents while they are home.

Just this past Tuesday night, a teen girl doing her homework at her dining room table received a gunshot wound to the leg when a stray bullet flew through her window in Queens.

The 15-year-old was taken to the hospital where she had surgery to remove the bullet from her leg.

While police believe she was not the intended target, these types of close calls have become all too common in New York City, since this is not the first scenario in which an unintended target was struck by a stray bullet while at home.

72-year-old Queens woman was also hit by a stray bullet as she sat in her own home watching TV. The victim’s South Ozone Park home was riddled with at least 10 bullet holes.

Police in that case also said the woman was not the intended target.

With all these horrible incidents in the not-so-distant past, Adams along with those six other mayors from around the state met last month to launch a four-year coordinated plan around gun violence.

To read Adams' complete testimony, click here.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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