Congressman Andy Levin Invites Gun Violence Survivor to State of the Union

January 31, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Andy Levin, whose first action as a Member of Congress was joining the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, invited Mary Miller-Strobel of his hometown of Berkley, MI as his guest to attend the 2020 State of the Union. Ms. Miller-Strobel is an Everytown for Gun Violence Survivor Fellow and advocates for common sense gun reform. 

Ms. Miller-Strobel’s brother, Ben Miller, was a combat veteran who suffered from depression and PTSD upon returning home. Despite seeking treatment at the VA, his family feared he would end his life in a moment of desperation. Mary and her father drove to every gun store in their area, showing Ben’s photo and begging them not to sell him a gun. They had no legal recourse to block the sale, and their emotional appeal did not stop a store from selling Ben the gun that ended his life.

“In this rare opportunity to share the House Chamber with both Leader McConnell and President Trump, I wanted to bring a constituent who is personally affected by their inaction,” Rep. Levin said. “We have witnessed some of the most deadly and horrific mass shootings in our history during this presidency, and gun suicides continue to claim the lives of 22,000 Americans every year, and yet nothing has changed. It’s been almost a year since we passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act out of the House of Representatives, and the Senate has not even given it a hearing. The President has said that he would do something about gun violence, among his many empty promises to the American people. Why are we letting one more person – let alone a person who bravely served our country – die while we fail to address this epidemic?

“I am so proud of Mary and all of the Moms Demand Action members in Macomb and Oakland Counties for continuing to advocate in Lansing and Washington.” Rep. Levin continued. “I am in awe of how Mary turned her tragedy into a triumphant story of fighting to prevent other families from suffering this tremendous and preventable loss.”

“I am humbled and honored to be the guest of Congressman Andy Levin for the State of the Union Address,” Ms. Miller-Strobel said. “I share this invitation with my brother, Ben Miller. He was my first hero -- Ben was a hero to a lot of people.  He proudly served his country and was a compassionate community organizer. An Extreme Risk Protection Order could have saved his life, and now I am committed to turning my grief into action to promote this legislation.”

Rep. Levin has cosponsored eight bills that enhance gun safety, including a bill to strengthen background checks with a Levin-authored amendment to direct research funding on gun sale transfers that passed the House of Representatives in February of 2019. Rep. Levin is an original cosponsor of Rep. Lucy McBath’s (GA-06) H.R. 3076, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which empowers families or law enforcement to go to federal court to seek a gun violence prevention order, while ensuring the rights of the individual are still protected. He is also a cosponsor of H.R. 1236, the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, introduced by Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24), which would support state, tribal, and local efforts to similarly prevent gun violence.