Letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, Steny Hoyer, Majority Leader of the House, James Clyburn, Majority Whip of the House - House Gun Sit-In Organizers Call on House Leadership to Act on Gun Violence Prevention

Letter

By: Mark Pocan, Adam Smith, Pramila Jayapal, Derek Kilmer, Suzan DelBene, Don Beyer, Jr., Abigail Spanberger, Bobby Scott, Lloyd Doggett II, Veronica Escobar, Al Green, Lizzie Fletcher, Steve Cohen, Jim Langevin, Conor Lamb, Susan Wild, Mary Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, Dwight Evans, Brendan Boyle, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Shontel Brown, Joyce Beatty, Mondaire Jones, Jamaal Bowman, Ritchie Torres, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Thomas Suozzi, Steven Horsford, Susie Lee, Dina Titus, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Don Payne, Jr., Bill Pascrell, Jr., Albio Sires, Tom Malinowski, Chris Pappas, David Price, Emanuel Cleaver II, Dean Phillips, Angie Craig, Brenda Lawrence, Rashida Tlaib, Debbie Dingell, Haley Stevens, Andy Levin, Dan Kildee, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, Kweisi Mfume, David Trone, Anthony Brown, John Sarbanes, Stephen Lynch, Ayanna Pressley, Jake Auchincloss, Lori Trahan, Jim McGovern, Clay Higgins, John Yarmuth, Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Sean Casten, Mike Quigley, Chuy Garcia, Marie Newman, Robin Kelly, Bobby Rush, Kai Kahele, Michael San Nicolas, David Scott, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Nikema Williams, Hank Johnson, Jr., Frederica Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Charlie Crist, Jr., Val Demings, Darren Soto, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Eleanor Norton, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Ed Perlmutter, Jason Crow, Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Sara Jacobs, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Mike Levin, Alan Lowenthal, Lou Correa, Katie Porter, Nanette Barragán, Mark Takano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sánchez, Karen Bass, Raul Ruiz, Norma Torres, Ted Lieu, Grace Napolitano, Brad Sherman, Tony Cárdenas, Adam Schiff, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna, Eric Swalwell, Barbara Lee, Mark DeSaulnier, Ami Bera, Doris Matsui, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, David Cicilline
Date: May 27, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Guns

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, and Whip Clyburn:

Next month will mark the six year anniversary of the first sit-in on the House floor to protest the Republican majority's unwillingness to consider any gun safety measures following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. At the time, we were in the minority and we had no other tool left at our disposal than to bring Congress to a grinding halt. Two years later, we won back the majority in the House with the promise to deliver on gun safety legislation and ever since we have had the votes to pass common sense gun violence prevention legislation in the House.

Over the last four years, we have made some progress by passing H.R.8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act to implement universal background checks and H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Check Act to close the "Charleston loophole," but the Republicans have used the filibuster to block those bills from even being considered by the Senate. Although the filibuster continues to be an enormous obstacle, we believe the House has an obligation to continue to bring up and pass gun violence prevention legislation. We were relieved to learn that you have scheduled Congresswoman McBath's bill to establish extreme risk protection orders for a floor vote and that the House Judiciary Committee is working to advance additional gun safety legislation.

More than 240,000 Americans have lost their lives to gun violence since the sit-in. In just the last two weeks alone, we've lost 31 innocent lives to mass shootings in Buffalo and now Texas. No district, town, or community is immune from gun violence. From Uvalde to Buffalo to Parkland to Sandy Hook, there isn't a city, town or neighborhood in this country that hasn't been impacted by gun violence. It is an epidemic in the United States, and a public health crisis. It's not just the mass shootings that are an issue, but also the day to day gun violence affecting people in cities like Chicago, New York, Houston, and Baltimore. Every day parents all across this country send their kids off to school or out to play, or drop them off at the mall or the movie theater, and fear that that might be the last time they see their child.

As President Biden said Tuesday night, "[…]these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world. Why? They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God's name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with it and stand up to the lobbies? It's time to turn this pain into action."

The time to act is now. The American people and President Biden are demanding that Congress act before more lives are needlessly lost to gun violence. We can and must continue to work in the House to tackle the gun violence crisis in this country even though we know that the Senate Republicans will continue to use the filibuster to block any meaningful reforms. The fact is, there are numerous pieces of gun violence prevention legislation still pending in the House that have the support of the majority of Americans.

The American people are demanding for us to act. They gave us the majority in 2018 because we promised to act. We must not squander this opportunity to show the American people that the Democratic-led House is serious about saving lives and stopping gun violence.

Our caucus is often reminded of President Lincoln's famous quote, "with public sentiment, nothing can fail…without it nothing can succeed." The majority of Americans are asking us, begging us, to do something about gun violence before more innocent lives are lost. We came here to take on the tough fights and let the chips fall where they may. We believe this is something worth fighting for, no matter the political consequences. We urge you to bring any gun violence prevention legislation that has been approved by the Judiciary Committee to the House floor immediately for a vote.


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