Chairman Becerra: Mr. Speaker, Let's Be Clear-Eyed on Gun Safety

Date: June 14, 2016
Location: Washington, DC

Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (CA-34) was joined by Vice Chairman Joe Crowley (NY-14), House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chair Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05), Congresswoman Corrine Brown (FL-05), and Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01) for a press conference following the Democratic Caucus meeting.

Chairman Becerra: "We can't just have moments of silence when we see American lives perish. As Robin Kelly, our colleague from Illinois, said: we can't just think about American lives that are lost when it comes to mass shootings. Every day, there are 30 Americans who are killed as a result of the use of weapons. The message was very clear at today's caucus: Members will stand up because we understand that it is important to express to the people of this country, and the families of the victims, that we're thinking of them. But, by God, this is the People's House. If we can't stand up and do something, then we're in trouble.

"There are any number of things that can be done. We must do a better job of identifying and checking the background of those who seek to buy weapons, especially assault weapons. We can ask people to pass the legislation that Mike Thompson introduced and has asked, through a discharge petition, that every single Member of the House sign onto so that we can have this bill debated; this bill will make sure that if you can't fly because you're on a no-fly list because of your potential to commit terrorist acts, then you should not be able to buy a weapon by going into a gun shop and walking out with something that can let you do your mass destruction. We have to do a better job of responding to the red flags waved by people who are on the edge and showing signs of fanatic extremism or severe psychological strain.

"What we shouldn't do is simply bow our heads for a moment of silence. Unfortunately, that's all Speaker Ryan would allow us to do yesterday. Terrorists should not be able to buy guns but right now, a suspected terrorist might enter a gun shop and walk out with the weapon of his or her choice. Our Republican colleagues refuse to act in the House of Representatives. Speaker Ryan said in a statement after the shooting: "As we heal, we need to be clear-eyed about who did this."

"Mr. Speaker, we're very clear-eyed about who did this. The man responsible for the unconscionable mass shooting in Orlando was investigated by the FBI and at one point, he was on a federal watch list. Yet, he got his hands on an assault weapon and committed mass murder.

"Mr. Speaker, let's be clear and let's be clear-eyed: to not allow a vote on this critical bipartisan legislation to keep someone who's on the no-fly list from buying a gun is wrong. It is time to allow the American people to speak through their Representatives and have a vote.

"Inaction is a choice and in Congress, it has proved harmful."