A women fires a handgun at the 'Get Some Guns & Ammo' shooting range on January 15, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Credit: Getty Images)
Dr. Suzanna Hupp became a case study in gun control after testifying in front of Congress as a survivor of the 1991 "Luby" massacre in Texas where both of her parents were killed. On Monday, more than a decade later, she spoke once more on the issue, examining it through the lens of the debate currently gripping the nation.
During her first appearance, Hupp explained how a friend had given her a gun when she was 21 and, though she doesn't like guns or hunting, she agreed to get some training and carry it in her purse.
Not long after, a man crashed his car into a restaurant where she was eating with her family and started shooting people.
"It took me a good 45 seconds to realize that this man wasn't there to commit a robbery," she said. "He was there to simply shoot as many people as he possibly could."
"When I finally realized what was occurring, I thought, 'I got him," she said, snapping her hand. "And I reached for my purse. He was maybe 12 feet away...But then I realized a couple of months earlier, I had made the stupidest decision of my life. I took my gun out of my purse and left it in my car, because as you well know in the state of Texas, it's sometimes a felony offense to carry a gun in your purse."
She proceeded to describe how her father was shot trying to rush the man, and how she tried to escape with her mother. When she turned around, she saw that her mother had run back to be with her father in his final moments, and was soon shot as well.
Here is video of her original testimony, which is well worth the watch:
In the intervening years, Hupp has become a staunch advocate for concealed-carry, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. After six terms, in 2006, she chose not to seek re-election.
She appeared on Monday, she said, not in any professional capacity, but simply as a citizen.
Hupp began by noting how uncomfortable she felt when victims of gun violence were asked to stand at the beginning of the hearing.
"Honestly, I don't view myself as a victim of gun violence," she said simply. "I view myself as a victim of a maniac who happened to use a gun as a tool, and I view myself as a victim of the legislators at the time who left me defenseless."
She re-told the gripping story with new details, before explaining one of the reasons why help was so slow in coming:
"The police officers, several of them, were patients of mine. Several days later, they filled in the gaps. They said they were actually one building away at a conference, and in an odd twist of gun control fate, the hotel where they were having their conference, the manager there didn't want them to be wearing their guns and potentially offending any of her clients or customers...So precious minutes were lost as they retrieved their guns from their locked cars.
"They said that when they got over there...they didn't know who the gunman was. There were bodies everywhere. But they [saw] a woman out in the aisle on her knees, cradling a mortally wounded man. They said they watched as some thirty-something-year-old man walked up to her. They said she looked up at him, he put a gun to her head, she looked down at her husband, and he pulled the trigger. That's how they knew who the gunman was.
"They said all they had to do was fire a shot into the ceiling, and the man immediately rabbited into a back bathroom alcove area...
"23 people were killed that day, including my parents." [Emphasis added]
Hupp once again compared the killer to a "rabid dog," which she said you take behind a barn and kill, but certainly don't hold wholly accountable for its condition.
"But I've got to tell you, I was mad as heck at my legislators, because I honestly believe they legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my family," she concluded. "And I would much rather be sitting in jail right now with a felony offense on my head, and have my parents alive to know their grandchildren."
Watch the gripping testimony via C-SPAN, below: