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McGovern Blasts GOP Over Lack of Gun Safety Legislation

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Jim McGovern

Congressman Jim McGovern is blasting Republicans’ for their “continued failure to take up any legislation that would help to prevent mass shootings.”

McGovern’s comments come just two weeks after 17 people were killed during a mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school.

“Today marks nearly two weeks since 17 people – including 14 students – were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This was one of the worst shootings our country has ever seen.  It was the 8th school shooting this year. And it’s only February,” said McGovern.

Read his Full Speech Below:

“I rise in opposition to this resolution, which provides for the consideration of two bills from the House Financial Services Committee -- H.R. 4607, the Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act, and H.R. 4296, legislation to undercut operational risk capital requirements – under a completely closed process.

These are the 66th and 67th closed rules this Congress, M. Speaker, and I am deeply concerned with this Republican leadership’s total lack of consideration for regular order.  For all intents and purposes, regular order in this Congress is dead. We consider one closed rule after another, and Republicans routinely rush bills to the floor without holding hearings to help us understand the impacts of these bills and benefit from expert witnesses.

What is especially shameful about the process today, M. Speaker, is the fact that there were amendments submitted, but Republicans decided to self-execute these non-germane amendments with no debate or discussion on the House floor, and to shut down the ability of Members to offer additional amendments.    

This is just bad legislating, plain and simple.

And I hope that if November turns out the way I hope it does, and we have a change in leadership in this Congress, that when Democrats are in charge, we can run this place like professionals, like adults. Respect all points of view. Where we go back to regular order and we say we go back to regular order and we mean it.

But why are we doing all this?  What could possibly be so urgent that we are completely throwing regular order out the window?

Today we are considering another two pieces of deregulatory legislation that will benefit big banks at the expense of financial stability to our economy and consumer protections that help everyday families.  H.R. 4607 would create a lopsided approach to implementing regulations that forces agencies to consider the costs of regulations on bankers without considering the benefit to consumers, and H.R. 4296 would undermine the ability of regulators to establish operational risk capital requirements to protect our economy from another crisis.

This is unacceptable.  Our constituents expect Congress to put them first, not the big banks, especially the big banks that wrecked our economy and endangered the life savings of millions of families.  We owe it to them to bring to the floor legislation that will help their lives and will make our country better. 

But sadly, this Congress has failed to act on meaningful legislation that will do anything like that.

Today marks nearly two weeks since 17 people – including 14 students – were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This was one of the worst shootings our country has ever seen.  It was the 8th school shooting this year. And it’s only February.

Yet Republicans in Congress have not lifted a finger to take up bipartisan gun reform legislation that will help to prevent shootings like these and protect our kids. Instead we are here considering a bill that will only help the already rich and powerful.

This is shameful. Absolutely shameful.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit that monitors gun violence, since 2014, there have been over 1,360 mass shootings in America. In 2018 alone – less than two months – there have been over 400 teens (aged 12-17) and 90 children under the age of 11 killed or injured by guns.

Yet the Majority in this House even refuses to bring to the floor legislation banning bump stocks – a reform agreed upon by both sides of the aisle, I thought. The NRA has even said that “devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.” I don’t know if they meant it, but they said it.

President Trump tweeted, “I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!”

Now, it is true that we have a president who is so erratic that he changes his mind from one hour to the next, but I have yet to see a retraction tweet. So I have every reason to believe he’s still standing by his commitment to support these modest gun safety reforms.

Yet here we are, just days after this horrific mass shooting, and not one single gun safety bill is being voted on – or even scheduled for a vote.

I am furious that in the face of such tragedy and senseless violence, that this Congress continues to do nothing. Not a thing to protect our kids, our families, and our communities.

Students from Amherst Regional Middle School in my district in Massachusetts sent me a letter last week that every Republican in Congress should read.  They write:

Seventeen innocent people lost their lives…That scares us. It scares us that kids have to go to school wondering if they are next. That we even have to think that the next time we see some of our classmates or teachers may be in their open caskets. And what scares us most of all, is that our government fails to do anything to change this.

They are gone because our country doesn’t care enough to have better gun control, and we will not stop fighting until they get their justice…We are writing this letter because we want to personally ask each and every one of our politicians: How many more killings must we bear before the laws are changed?

Our country is no longer safe. Not in school, church, concerts, parties, or even public meeting areas. Please choose to do something. All of our lives depend on your actions.’ 

I cannot say it better than these students. These are young people, writing to Congress, begging us to do something to end the violence. They are young people who want a better future.

I would ask my Republican friends, are you so beholden to the NRA that you could possibly turn your backs on our country’s young people? Can they really ignore these heartbreaking pleas for action?

A recent poll showed that 80 percent of Americans support bans on assault-style weapons like the one used in the Florida school shooting. And 90 percent support tougher background checks. These commonsense reforms have overwhelming support from the American people. This should be a bipartisan issue we can come together on.

But I would say, even if you don’t want to support what I think is commonsense legislation and commonsense reform, understand that the majority of people in this country do support this. At least bring these bills to the floor so that we can have a debate and people can vote the way they want to vote.  

I urge my colleagues to oppose this rule, and these terrible bills that help big banks, puts consumers and our economy at risk, and do absolutely nothing to address the real priority we should be tackling. It is long past time for Congress to finally do something to stop these horrific mass shootings that are taking the lives of our kids and families.

We could just as easily have spent this afternoon debating and approving one or more of any number of gun safety and gun reform measures.  We could have shown high school and elementary students — our children — that we heard them, that we care about them, and that we’re starting to take action. Instead we’re debating these worthless bills to help big banks and continuing to ignore our children’s suffering.  Shame on this Congress. Shame on all of us.” 


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