Tonight's YSU lecturer wants new gun laws following Florida shoo - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Tonight's YSU lecturer wants new gun laws following Florida shootings

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

A former member of Congress who survived an assassination attempt, who is scheduled to speak in Youngstown tonight, is calling for the passage of gun control laws following shootings that claimed the lives of 17 people at a Florida school.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, the target of an assassination attempt in 2011, and her husband, Mark Kelly, retired NASA astronaut, will present a lecture at 7 p.m. in Stambaugh Auditorium as part of the YSU Skeggs Lecture Series.

In response to Wednesday's shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the former representative tweeted, “Defenders of the status quo - advocates of the gun industry & the politicians paid to defend it - will tell you that events like these are virtual acts of nature, products of mental illness or bad parenting, beyond our ability to control. This couldn't be further from the truth.”

In addition, Giffords challenged citizens to challenge politicians to change America's gun laws.

Giffords represented Arizona's 8th congressional district when, in January 2011 and just a week into her third term, she was a victim of an assassination attempt near Tuscon. Six people were killed and 13 injured in the shooting; Giffords suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

In a series of tweets, Giffords called on the country to use such instances of violence to mobilize:

"The accounts from today's school shooting in Parkland, Florida strike fear into all Americans. Is it safe to send our kids to school? Are we safe in our homes and communities?"

"But our fear cannot compare to what our innocent children felt as the gunshots rang out, bullets flew through the halls of their school, and their teachers and classmates were gunned down."

"Even in our grief, we must summon the courage to fight against this fear. We must find the courage to imagine a country where these massacres do not occur. Our leaders must find the courage to escape the confines of their politics & pursue the moral necessity of peace & safety."

Kelly, a retired U.S. Navy captain, flew his first Space Shuttle mission in 2001, and also piloted flights in 2006, 2008 and 2011. His twin brother, Scott, is also an astronaut.

Although tonight's presentation is free and open to the public, tickets are required for admission.

Tickets are available at the Stambaugh box office or online at www.stambaughauditorium.com.

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