Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Actby Representative Elizabeth H. Esty
Posted on 2015-12-09
ESTY. Mr. Speaker, we are approaching the third anniversary of
the day 20 6- and 7-year-old children and 6 brave educators were gunned
down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in my district in Newtown,
Many advocates and families from Newtown are here in Washington this week. They are joining with survivors and families of victims all across America. We are holding a vigil tonight--the third, sadly. The third annual national vigil to end gun violence [[Page H9085]] will be held at St. Mark's Church near Capitol Hill. The vigil will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and I encourage all of my colleagues and staff members to join us.
Mr. Speaker, the Members of this House should spend more time with the families and victims of gun violence. I say that because, in the 3 years since the shootings at Sandy Hook, the majority of this House hasn't even allowed a single vote--not one vote--on gun safety legislation. It has now become the habit that, after every new, tragic mass shooting that claims the lives of more innocent Americans, this House merely acknowledges a moment of silence and then goes back to business as usual.
I am heartsick, and I am outraged. Every time one of these mass shootings happens, people are retraumatized in my communities: the families, the first responders who went into the school, all of us. It is appalling and it is unacceptable that this keeps happening in America, and this Congress, the American Congress, does nothing.
Mr. Speaker, the time has passed for moments of silence. It is time for days of action. As vice chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I am working on several commonsense measures, bills that would help prevent gun violence in this country while respecting and protecting the Second Amendment. It is time for congressional leaders to bring these bills to the floor to allow a vote.
The cost of the inaction is being paid by American families all across this great Nation. The families of victims and survivors of gun violence deserve a vote. They deserve a vote on a bipartisan bill that will close background check loopholes and save lives. They deserve a vote on legislation to end the prohibition on Federal research funding for public health research on our gun violence epidemic, and they deserve a vote on a bipartisan bill this week to close the loophole that allows suspected terrorists to walk into a gun shop and legally buy a weapon.
More than 2,000 suspects on the FBI terrorist watch list have successfully bought guns in the United States in the past 11 years. I am a cosponsor of the Republican bill to fix this. H.R. 1076, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, would bar the sale or distribution of firearms to anyone the Attorney General has determined to be engaged in terrorist activities.
The time for silence is over. We in Congress have a sworn duty to protect and defend the American people, but that is not what we are doing when we observe a moment of silence and do nothing.
Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the House bring up H.R. 1076, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of January 6, 2015, the House is in session solely for the purpose of conducting morning-hour debate. Therefore, that unanimous consent request cannot be entertained.