Transcript: Remarks by Andri Nikictyuk, father of Newtown shooting survivor, on gun violence

Edited by Jenny Jiang

* Editor’s Note: Nikictyuk’s son’s name has been intentionally omitted to preserve his privacy. 

Transcript of remarks by Andri Nikictyuk, whose son survived the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., at a press conference organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence outside Capitol Hill on Dec. 18, 2012: 

There are two parts to my story. One part is actually happened to my son [name omitted to preserve privacy of a minor].

He went to school in the morning in the bus – just like he normally does.

And then when he was a classroom helper, he was sent from his classroom to turn in attendance sheets to the principal’s office.

He and another little kid, together they went into hallway and then when they were nearing the principal’s office, they heard gunshots that he’s described like somebody banging in the door.

He says that he saw bullets passing by. He’s a kid. What does he know. He cannot see bullets. But the teachers told us that yes, the bullets were there.

These two wonderful kids were saved by the bravery of the wonderful teacher, Mrs. Clements, which we will ever be thankful for and never be enough. She pulled them in her own classroom and barricaded the door. They were saved.

Unfortunately, for many families in our town, it’s not true.

I cannot describe what I feel about that.

If we could re-write the reality and prevent what happened, I would give anything to do it.

Now, my story.

For many years, I watched what was happening in this country.

I’m an immigrant. I’ve been here for 22 years.

And I held these beliefs:

America has deep history with guns. It’s part of American history. Gun owners and people who handle guns – they know how to keep them safe and be responsible. Our politicians will do whatever they can to make sure our kids are safe.

And you know, every time something like Columbine, Virginia Tech, or Aurora were happening, I would avert my eyes and I will still think that something will be done.

But all those beliefs were shattered on Friday, and now I think we all need to speak up. And I say “we all” because I know many of you – my friends, relatives, the people who I talk to – everyone thinks we need to make this society safer.

If not for us, let’s make it safer for our kids.

So, let’s unite. Let’s stop these partisan divisions. It’s not a partisan issue. It’s an issue of safety of our children.

That’s why I decided to step forward. I wasn’t asked to do so. I’m not even sure how many members of my own town feel about that.

I receive support from people I know in town but I don’t talk to many people right now. I try not to watch TV, not to listen to the radio. But every one I talk to thinks that a change should be done.

And please, let’s stop partisan bickering. Let’s get money out of politics and act in the interest of people. I think we are America we can do it. This is a beautiful country, and let’s make it back to the country it was – safe for kids.

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