WASHINGTON -- Patricia Maisch, a hero of the Tucson shooting that left six dead and another 13 wounded, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), was escorted by police out of the Capitol Wednesday for telling senators that they should be ashamed of themselves for blocking a provision requiring background checks for gun sales.
Maisch was at Giffords' "Congress On Your Corner" event in January 2011 when Jared Loughner opened fire. He was tackled by bystanders as he tried to reload, and Maisch was able to grab the third clip away from him.
She reacted just as quickly inside the Senate chamber. "Shame on you!" she told senators who'd voted against the amendment, which would require background checks for firearm sales at gun shows and elsewhere.
Outside the Senate chamber Wednesday, Maisch was surrounded by reporters. "When I was told it was done, I decided that I could not stay still any longer, that they need to be ashamed of themselves," she said. "They have no souls. They have no compassion for the experiences that people have lived through ... [having] a child or loved one murdered by a gun. They say that it's not the gun, it's the man. I'm here to tell you ... The man and the gun become intimate and they cannot do the act without each other. So the gun is part of the problem."
Reporters continuing to interview Maisch separated her from Capitol police, who were attempting to remove her from the building. "It was spontaneous, but I was prepared to do that," she said of her admonition, which was gaveled down by Vice President Joe Biden, who was presiding over the chamber. "They are an embarrassment to our country."
Lori Haas, who also told the Senate from the gallery that it should be ashamed of itself for blocking the background checks measure, was escorted out along with Maisch. Her daughter Emily was shot twice at Virginia Tech and survived.
If a background check would have been able to capture Loughner's record of mental instability or drug abuse, he could have been prevented from purchasing the weapon. But a variety of federal laws protected his privilege to do so.
This post has been updated.