“Being here today is the best way I know to honor the incredible aunt that was taken unnecessarily and make sure that something positive comes from this horrible tragedy,” Rachel Joseph testified before the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee.
The committee was holding an information only hearing on a bill that would close the gun show “loophole” that allowed the woman who killed Joseph’s aunt to buy the gun she used to kill her.
“My Aunt shelly was an amazing woman,” Rachel said as her voice cracked. “ Family always came first with her. She was like a second mother to me growing up.
“Shelly would have done anything for her family and I have no doubt that if it had been me who was shot and killed that day, she’d be here now doing everything in her power to change things and make sure that no other family has to live through the hell of having loved one taken by gun violence.
“Being here today is the best way I know to honor the incredible aunt that was taken unnecessarily and make sure that something positive comes from this horrible tragedy.
“Despite the senseless murder of my Aunt shelly. Despite the recent shooting of a St. Paul law office committed by a prohibited purchaser and despite the gun violence in Minnesota that happens every day and doesn’t even make the headlines like domestic violence and gun homicide or I should say gun suicide, many of our lawmakers have been complacent at best. Now that can change.
“Our Minnesota lawmakers have the opportunity to actually do something to prevent future tragedies. SF2493 closes a dangerous loophole in our background checks law by ensuring every gun purchaser undergoes a background check. This will prevent felons, domestic abusers, rapists, murderers and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining guns. These are people who pose a significant risk of doing harm to themselves and to others.
“Shelly will never meet her three gorgeous grandchildren,” Rachel said with her hands shaking and voice breaking. “And my two kids will never know the joy of receiving one of Aunt Shelly’s big hugs as they enter her home each holiday.
“I never could have imagined that my Aunt Shelly would become one of the more than 90 Americans a day killed by someone with a gun. But that is my reality and the reality for my family.
“I know I can’t go back and change what happened and I know there is not one solution to ending all gun violence, but I hope that by sharing my personal story and encouraging members of this committee to work with their colleagues and to take action to close the background check loopholes it will prevent other nieces, daughters, and mothers from having to sit here and tell you how their lives have been torn apart by gun violence.
“In my Aunt Shelly’s memory I ask you to please support SF2493. Thank you.”