The parents of Alex Teves, who was killed during the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, told local Phoenix station KPNX-TV that they invited Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to a family dinner at their home.
Caren and Tom Teves, who have been at the forefront of the gun control advocacy movement since the July 2012 mass shooting, told KPNX that they reached out to Flake so he could "see what it was like to sit at a dinner table without your child," Talking Points Memo reports.
In this case, according to Caren Teves, Flake would sit "in Alex's seat."
Flake has stated his opposition to any kind of new gun control laws, calling even universal background checks "a bridge too far."
Tom Teves said that Flake has reached out twice to the family about the dinner, but they have not connected yet.
The Teves have made waves in the media since their son was killed while shielding his girlfriend from a sea of bullets. Earlier this year, the couple sent letters to Flake and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) urging them to take action and support gun control legislation. The senators each responded by letter, but neither was addressed personally or mentioned the Aurora shooting, touching instead upon the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut in December.
Caren Teves confronted McCain during a Phoenix town hall event in February and asked him whether he would support an assault weapons ban. McCain told her, "you need some straight talk," and that an "assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States. It won't."
Teves described McCain's response to her question as "appalling," and Tom Teves told TPM that the senator owes his wife "an apology."
While the Senate voted Thursday to begin debating gun control legislation, a solemn Tom Teves, who choked back tears during the KPNX interview, expressed his sorrow that it took such a loss of life to begin a national discourse on the issue. "Maybe we didn't realize this, but the time to speak out is before someone pins your kid down with an assault weapon and blows his head off," he said.