Gun Safety in the Wake of Orlando
This weekend we witnessed the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history when a lone gunman, armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle, opened fire in an Orlando nightclub killing 49 innocent people and injuring 53 more. Following this heartbreaking news, I joined many of you at Stonewall Inn to pay my respects to the lives lost in this horrific attack and stand in solidarity with the with the LGBT community. I then took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to call for meaningful gun safety reforms. You can view my remarks here.
As this devastating event makes clear, gun safety is also about homeland security and Congress needs to act. The Republican majority’s apparent blindness to, and inaction on, gun violence is an abomination. We have an obligation to the victims’ families, and the tens of thousands of families across the country who lose a loved one to gun violence every year, to take action.
Congress must reinstate the assault weapon ban and the prohibition on massacre magazines. Military-style assault weapons do not belong on our streets, let in along in night clubs, schools and movie theaters. We should prevent people on the FBI’s terror watch list from buying guns. If you can’t fly on a plane, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. And we should lift the senseless gag order on gun violence research, so we can find effective solutions to this epidemic.
I’ve also authored five of my own gun safety bills and was just recognized by Salon.com as one of six leaders who will not be silent when it comes to gun safety.
There are common-sense, highly effective steps our country can take right now to stem the flood of gun violence. They will not infringe on the Second Amendment for hunters or those who wish to have a gun for self-protection, but they will save lives.
For more information about what I’m doing to protect our communities from gun violence, please visit my website.
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney
Salon: Leaders of the anti-gun movement: Six politicians who refuse to stay silent
“In 2015, Maloney introduced a bill that would require gun buyers to hold liability insurance in order to purchase firearms. ‘An insurance requirement would allow the free market to encourage cautious behavior and help save lives,” Maloney said. ‘Adequate liability coverage would also ensure that the victims of gun violence are fairly compensated when crimes or accidents occur.’ Maloney previously sponsored legislation intended to close the gun show loophole.”
My full floor speech, as prepared for delivery
Mr. Speaker –
Yesterday, I went down to the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, where the modern gay rights movement really began.
I went there to leave some flowers in honor those members of the LGBT community who lost their lives in the massacre – the worst mass shooting in American history –at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida..
While I stood there in solidarity with a somber crowd of thousands of allies and members of the LGBT community, it occurred to me that, just as the events at Stonewall were a turning point in the gay rights movement, this horrific attack in Orlando may serve as a turning point of its own.
Once again, it is time for us all to stand up together, and say “ENOUGH.”
We will NOT be silent.
This madness must end.
And make no mistake, it is utter madness that a man with a history of domestic violence, a man who had been investigated by the FBI for his possible ties to terror could buy an assault weapon as easily as he could buy an aspirin.
In the Pulse Massacre, this man armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a weapon that he bought legally – killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 more.
And at an elementary school in Connecticut – another madman with an AR-15-style assault weapon killed 26 children and their teachers.
And in a theater in Aurora Colorado, one man with one AR-15 assault rifle killed 12 and wounded 70.
In each of these mass casualty events - it took one gun to brutally take so many innocent lives.
In each case the gun was an assault weapon.
Assault weapons are designed to do one thing, very well: To kill people, reliably and rapidly.
They aren’t hunting rifles. They are weapons of war.
That is why, in 1994, three presidents -- Ford, Carter and Reagan, all signed a letter to the House of Representatives calling for a federal ban on military style assault weapons. I ask unanimous consent to submit the former Presidents letter into the record.
That same year, I voted for a Federal Assault Weapons Ban signed into law by President Clinton that also banned massacre-sized magazines.
Unfortunately, this ban expired in 2004 and Congress, under pressure from the NRA, has since refused to reauthorize it.
It should come as no surprise – that of the 10 mass shooting incidents in the U.S.—seven of them involved the use of an assault-style rifle.
That is why I fully and wholeheartedly support the common sense proposal to reinstate a federal ban on the sale and manufacture of assault weapons and massacre sized magazines.
And it’s why I’ve introduced 5 commonsense gun reform bills. And let’s be clear: these measures are not some kind of assault on Second Amendment freedoms, or on hunters or on those who wish to have a gun for self-protection.
The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act would boost penalties for straw purchasers and give prosecutors tools to go after trafficking rings that bring illegal guns to our cities.
H.R. 2612 would provide funding to research gun violence as a public health issue.
The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act would subject all gun sales at gun shows to background checks.
The Firearm Risk Protection Act would require liability insurance coverage for gun owners, just like car owners.
The Handgun Trigger Safety Act would improve gun safety by ensuring that only authorized users would be able to operate handguns utilizing personalization (or “smart gun”) technology.
The assault weapons ban is a limited, common measure to help keep people safe. That’s why a strong majority of the American people support it. The most recent polls available show unequivocal public approval of such a ban.
Along with that, I also strongly support the call to prohibit those on the Terror Watch List from buying guns. As it stands now, there is nothing to prevent someone who the FBI has good reason to believe may be a terrorist from purchasing assault weapons, massacre-sized magazines.
In fact, between 2004 and 2014, suspected terrorists were able to purchase weapons at least 2,043 times. That seems to most people to border on insanity.
And the most recent polls show that banning those on the Terror Watch list from buying guns is supported by 83% of Americans.
I sincerely hope, that like the thundering inflection point that became known as Stonewall, people all across America will just say: “Enough! No more.”
Too many innocent lives have been lost in the mass shootings through the years and across the country - and they all cry out to us to act: to Reauthorize the Federal Assault Weapons ban and enact commonsense gun reforms that can help protect us all.
If we stand up, if we stand together, and if we raise our voices this time – this time it may be different.
Because this time: #WeAreAllOrlando.