Uvalde mass shooting: Survivor, 11, testifies before US lawmakerson June 8, 2022 at 4:00 pm

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Miah Cerillo told a House committee about her harrowing experience surviving the school shooting.

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A fourth grade student who survived the Uvalde shooting by covering herself in a classmate’s blood said she doesn’t feel safe at school after the massacre.

Speaking in a pre-recorded message to US lawmakers, Miah Cerrillo, 11, said that she fears that a similar shooting may happen again.

The Texas shooting has led to renewed US national debate about gun regulations.

But efforts to advance national gun-control regulations have often stalled.

The school shooting claimed the lives of 21 people, including 19 young children.

In emotional testimony before a congressional panel looking into US gun violence, the young Ms Cerrillo recalled the terrifying shooting, which for her began when a teacher told students to hide after seeing the gunman, an 18-year-old local.

The gunman shot her teacher as children took cover behind her desk and their book bags.

“He told her goodnight, and shot her in the head,”she said. “And then he shot some of my classmates.”

Ms Cerrillo was wounded by fragments in her shoulders and head. During the incident, she pretended to be dead before using her teacher’s phone to call 911 and ask for police.

“I thought he was going to come back to the room, so I grabbed the [her classmate’s] blood and put it all over me,” she said. “I just stayed quiet.”

Miah’s father, Miguel Cerrillo, said that his daughter is suffering from lingering trauma from the event.

“She’s not the same little girl I used to play with,” he said tearfully. “Schools are not safe anymore. Something really needs to change.”

Later on Wednesday, the complete US House of Representatives is scheduled to debate a bill that would see the minimum age to buy some guns raised from 18 to 21. The bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

Only a handful of the 50 Republican senators appear open to new gun legislation, with Democrats seeking narrower gun measures to compromise with their Republican colleagues.

Proposals with the greatest support include a “red flag” law that would prevent individuals with mental illness or a criminal history from purchasing firearms and expanded background checks on gun purchasers that would include private gun sales.

Speaking at a rally in Washington DC, Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, a gun control advocacy organisation, told the BBC that the testimony of survivors and widespread public calls for change can be a “powerful” call to action.

“There’s focus on the issue,” she said. “When there’s a national shooting tragedy, we finally see more people in America decide they are going to get off the side lines.”

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