On Monday, the nation woke up to an unimaginable horror. In an act of violence unlike any we have ever seen before, one gunman killed at least 59 people and injured 527. This is the deadliest shooting in our history. Families have lost loved ones and the wounded will face a lifetime of physical and mental health effects.
This should serve as a wake-up call to our nation, but, most importantly, to our lawmakers. In Newtown. Connecticut, we saw 27 lives – including small children – senselessly ended. Americans demanded action. The Congress did nothing.
When a madman entered a theater in Aurora, Colorado and killed 12, Congress did nothing.
When a white supremacist entered a church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine, Congress did nothing.
When a man driven by hate entered a nightclub in Orlando, Florida and killed 49, Congress did nothing.
When their own colleagues were fired upon at baseball practice, Congress did nothing.
What is it going to take? If Congress does nothing, it’s leadership is complicit.
Instead of giving us a vote on bipartisan, common-sense legislation to expand the background check on gun purchases, the Republican leadership is pushing a bill that will deregulate silencers. If the American people knew that in the face of the gun violence epidemic, the only gun provisions this Congress is considering is a proposal to make it easier for more people to get silencers, they would be appalled.
This isn’t about helping hunters or sportsmen. This is about making more money for gun manufacturers. Their sales are slumping. They need a new revenue stream. Imagine if car sales were falling and we lowered the standards of requirements to get a driver’s license. We would never do that for cars. Why would we do it for something so lethal as a silencer?
That’s why I am calling on my Republican and Democratic colleagues to come together. This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue about saving lives and repairing our communities.
I have introduced a resolution that would establish a Select Committee on Gun Violence that would consist of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats and require them to submit a report to Congress on how we can work together to prevent gun violence.
We can protect Second Amendment rights while making our communities safer. And we can do it together as a nation and as Democrats and Republicans.
So, while we keep the victims, survivors and their families in our thoughts and prayers, we must act. We must come together. Now is exactly the time. Let’s put party aside and come to the table with solutions. Lives depend on it.