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Rep. John Lewis Renews Call to Action on Gun Violence

September 14, 2016
Press Release

Rep. Lewis made the following speech on the House floor today after previous remarks made by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other colleagues to encourage the Speaker of the House to bring gun control legislation to the floor.  After Lewis’s speech, he asked his colleagues to join him in the well of the House.  Ten members and Lewis stood quietly in the well.  He was joined by Reps. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA),  John Larson (D-CT), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Elizabeth Etsy (D-CT), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), and Katherine Clark (D-MA).  The House was immediately gaveled into recess.   Rep. Lewis’s statement follows:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise yet again to speak out about mass shootings and gun violence in our nation.  When I think of Newtown, of Charleston, of Orlando, my heart just breaks.  Mr. Speaker, what will it take for Congress to act?  How many more must suffer? How many more must die?

"Today, I ask you to think of Taylor Hayden, the beautiful young woman celebrating a girls weekend in Atlanta, who was killed by gang crossfire.  Please think of the young woman killed while driving home from work in Southwest Atlanta. Think of the woman fighting for her life at this very moment in Grady hospital.  Just last week, she was injured in a shooting that brought I-85 to a stop.

"Mr. Speaker, time and time again, we asked for compassion.  Time and time again, we asked for action.  Time and time again, we asked for leadership.  Our constituents are sick and tired of a do nothing Congress.  They elected us to do our jobs.  Instead, Congress took a break. Mr. Speaker, Republicans must join Democrats, and do what is right, what is just, and what is long overdue.  There are good, common-sense proposals that not only protect rights, but also will save lives.  These bills should be passed immediately.

"Time is of the essence.  We cannot be silent.  We cannot be compliant.  We cannot wait for another time, another place, or another person. Mr. Speaker, the time to act is now. Today, I urge all of my colleagues to join us.  Be brave and take a stand.  Or if you prefer, please take a seat, roll up your sleeves, and let us get to work.   

"We have mission, an obligation, and a mandate.  History will not be kind if Congress continues to turn a blind eye and a cold shoulder to those crying, begging, and pleading for action.  We must pass common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence and mass shootings in our country, and we must act now.  Not next week, next week, or next year, but now."