Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke in support of commonsense proposals to reduce the epidemic of gun violence.
Feinstein’s remarks as delivered follow, and video is available here.
“It wasn’t long ago that towns like Columbine, Aurora, Blacksburg, Newtown and now Roseburg were unknown outside their states.
But today, these town have witnessed the worst kind of tragedy: Mass shootings, bodies torn to pieces, families shattered.
The common element in each has been an unstable individual who had easy access to deadly weapons.
I stood here two and half years ago to argue for restrictions on the manufacture, transfer and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
That vote failed.
I stood here to argue for universal background checks. It makes sense that there be a process to ensure a firearm isn’t purchased by someone who cannot legally possess it, like a felon.
Even that bill, supported by the overwhelming majority of the public, failed.
So here we are again, Madam President, once again standing on the Senate floor, demanding action in the wake of another deadly mass shooting.
As frustrated as I may be, I have not lost hope that the American people will rise up and force their elected representatives to take real action to help stop these senseless murders.
I hope they pick up their phones and call every senator, every representative, every presidential candidate. And demand to know where they stand.
President Obama noted this week that the United States is the only country—the only country—that so frequently suffers these deadly attacks.
Let me quote some figures:
Last year we had 33,636 killed by guns.
In 2011 there were 146 gun deaths in the United Kingdom and 698 in Canada.
In 2012, Australia saw 226 gun deaths. And last year, there were just 6 gun deaths in Japan.
The comparable number here in the United States? In 2013, the CDC reported that 33,636 were killed by guns.
Our number is 33,636. We can’t let that continue. Gun laws work in other countries, and they can work here too.
There are simple actions that Congress can take to make a difference.
An individual should not be able to buy any weapon they want online or at a gun show with no background check.
An individual should not be able to purchase weapons, then immediately resell them, without background checks, to criminals.
And an individual who has committed domestic violence should not be able to purchase firearms.
Now, these are not drastic changes. In fact, all of these proposals are already law in some states.
Mr. President, Congress simply must take action. The longer we delay, the more innocent people, including children, will be killed in our schools, our office parks, our movie theaters and on our streets.
I read a story written by blog writer Glennon Doyle Melton. She offers up a powerful tale, and I’d like to read a portion of it to conclude today.
And I quote:
‘Two weeks ago, my second and fourth grade daughters came home from school and told me that they’d had a code red drill,’ Glennon writes.
She recalled her daughter saying the drill was, ‘In case someone tries to kill us. We had to all hide in the bathroom together and be really quiet. It was really scary but the teacher said if there was a real man with a gun trying to find us, she’d cover us up and protect us from him. Tommy started crying. I tried to be brave.’
Glennon continues: ‘My three-year-old nephew had the same drill at his preschool in Virginia. Three-year-old American babies and teachers—hiding in bathrooms, holding hands, preparing for death. We are saying to teachers: arm yourselves and fight men with assault weapons because we are too cowardly to fight the gun lobby.
‘We are saying to a terrified generation of American children—We will not do what it takes to protect you. We will not even try. So just be very quiet, hide and wait. Hold your breath. Shhh.’
Madam President, this is chilling. To hear what our children and grandchildren must endure, even in their earliest years.
I would say to all of us, we must have the courage to stand up and do what it takes to provide some commonsense protection for our constituents and for our country.”