Connecticut’s senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, have joined a growing group of Democratic lawmakers who have invited Newtown residents and others affected by gun violence to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

Blumenthal said he’s bringing Newtown Selectwoman Patricia Llodra to Tuesday night’s speech. Murphy plans to invite detectives Daniel McAnaspie and Jason Frank, both of Newtown’s police department, to Washington. Because all lawmakers receive only one ticket for a guest to sit in the House gallery, only McAnaspie will attend the speech. But both of Murphy’s guests will attend a traditional Senate dinner for guests held in the Capitol before the president’s speech.

A number of House members, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, and Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, are all bringing Newtown residents to the State of the Union Address. So is First Lady Michelle Obama.

Other House lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, are bringing family members of shooting victims from their districts.

The 3-year-old daughter of Himes’ guest, Curtrina Murphy of Bridgeport, was hit by crossfire from gang violence. The little girl recovered from her wounds.

Blumenthal said he hopes the presence of so many Newtown residents and shooting victims at the State of the Union speech will toughen the spine of lawmakers who are wavering on gun control.

“To be blunt, there is talk of backing off the assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazine ban,” Blumenthal said.

Murphy agreed the attendance of shooting victims would exert strong influence.

“Members of Congress who want to water down the legislation or don’t want the legislation need to be confronted,” he said.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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