Protecting Our Kids Act

Floor Speech

Date: June 8, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. OWENS. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 7910. The violence that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, was horrific. As we consider the pain these families are experiencing, we can do more now. Let us focus today like a laser beam on protecting our precious children.

My friends on the other side of the aisle want us to vote on a hasty, partisan, and overreaching package of bills they developed in the middle of the night without any Republican input.

The legislation we are considering today is clearly designed to strip law-abiding Americans of their constitutional rights. In a town hall meeting last summer, President Biden himself said he would like to ban the sale of handguns and rifles, full stop. It is no wonder law-abiding Americans see this legislation as central Federal overreach.

History has taught us some great lessons. One is that, ``Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.''

I grew up in the Deep South where, for a time, Black Americans were unable to defend themselves. After the Civil War, Democrat Black Codes and Jim Crow laws prohibited people of color from owning firearms.

Most people have heard the phrase, ``40 acres and a mule,'' the order issued in 1865 that allowed 40,000 former slaves to live on hundreds of thousands of acres.

After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Democrat President, Andrew Johnson, a Confederate sympathizer, confiscated this land, displacing thousands of Black Americans and families. This is an example of why the right to bear arms is necessary to safeguard and protect our life, liberty, and property.

The Democrats' proposals are unhelpful in protecting our kids and go against all common sense. They ignore real solutions that will keep our children safe and help prevent future acts of senseless violence.

Most importantly, they are not proposing anything that protects our children now. We don't need to spend another 2 years fighting over solutions. We have solutions available immediately. The Securing Our Students Act, my legislation, would empower local school districts to immediately receive unspent funds from the American Rescue Plan and implement security measures in their schools now.

Of the $122 billion appropriated to the America's K-12 schools in last year's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, roughly 93 percent remains unspent. I invite my colleagues to join me in demanding these hundreds of billions of dollars be immediately used to help local schools determine and implement the safety measures that best fit their communities. We can harden our schools and protect our children at school now.

We can never bring back those precious children we lost, but we can, and we must, work together to prevent future tragedies.

This is a solution that will harness the full weight of American innovation and technology and keep our schools safe now to ensure that no child, educator, or family has to say goodbye to a loved one because of any kind of violence.