House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will bring a child from Newtown, Conn. and her mother to the State of the Union, she told reporters Friday.*
The names of the guests were not immediately available.
At the same news conference, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said he's bringing Carol Price, "who lost her son to gun violence many years ago, and her son's death actually stimulated the Maryland gun legislation many years ago to require trigger locks be sold with guns so you wouldn't have these awful tragedies."
The invitations are part of a campaign by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) to get his fellow lawmakers to bring victims of gun violence to the speech. Langevin, a quadriplegic, was accidentally shot at 16 by a police officer and has used a wheelchair since.
Pelosi's office later clarified that the fourth grader does not attend Sandy Hook Elementary but instead goes to a different school in Newton. Her office said they will not be releasing the name of the child or her mother, who will also attend the speech.
An aide said Pelosi invited the child after she wrote the Democratic leader a letter explaining that she had launched a petition drive in Newton to urge Congress to ban assault weapons. The letter, as released by Pelosi's office, is below:
Dear Representative Pelosi and Members of Congress,
My name is [REMOVED] and I am a 4th grade student in Newtown, CT. After the shooting in my town, I started an online petition asking for help from the President and Congress to change the gun laws. It got a lot of support from all over America, but then I had to take it down because the police were worried about my safety. What everyone in Newtown wants, is for you to ban semi automatic weapons and large capacity magazines and to make everyone use gun safes. This is important so that a person cannot shoot many people at once, and/or injure people badly. Semi-automatic weapons and large capacity magazines end lives and put lives at risk. This ban will help prevent individuals, families and communities from suffering the way we are in Newtown.
In Newtown’s municipal center, there are hundreds of thousands of cards and pictures from children and adults from all across America. It’s so sad. I think the people against changing gun laws should walk through the long hallway and read one card out of every box, to realize how many people want this change. We would all appreciate anything you could do to help.
Thank you for your help.
* This post originally stated that the child went to Sandy Hook Elementary School; she attends another school in Newtown.