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John Y.
Democrat KY 3

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  • The Class of 2006 Fondly Pays Tribute to Gabby Giffords

    by Representative John A. Yarmuth

    Posted on 2014-01-08

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    YARMUTH. I thank the gentleman from Tennessee.

    Mr. Speaker, this is a very, very meaningful day. Like so many other things in our lives, there are certain times, certain events that you always recall where you were when they occurred. And I remember very well that Saturday when I was at lunch with a group of friends and received word that Gabby had been shot. I remember later in the day not too long after that when the reports were actually that she had passed away. I remember the feelings I had then.

    Fortunately, she did survive, but the emotions of that day live with me, and, unfortunately, they are reinforced too many times. They have been reinforced at Newtown and in Aurora. And even before the Gabby Giffords shooting in Tucson, they were reinforced in my community of Louisville, Kentucky, where a disgruntled employee shot, with an assault weapon, a number of coworkers in the Standard Gravure printing plant that prints the Courier-Journal. I remember also a mass shooting at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky, one of the first school shootings.

    Unfortunately, the list continues to grow. Many of these inexplicable shootings are committed with weapons that are designed only to inflict massive casualties. And after Newtown, I spoke out the next day in saying actually that I was sorry that I had not spoken out on a regular basis, that I vowed at that point, as Gabby has vowed every day of her life over the last 3 years, to make it a mission to try and create saner gun laws in this country. Even in my State of Kentucky, with a very, very long and significant gun culture, vast majorities of our citizens believe that we ought to have universal background checks, and yet we have not been able to make any ground in that effort.

    I think most people realize that in that Gabrielle Giffords shooting that Jared Loughner, the perpetrator, was actually wrestled to the ground when he had stopped to reload because he did not have a 30- capacity magazine. He had a lesser capacity magazine. And yet we can't deal with, again, these weapons and magazines made to inflict damage on many, many people.

    I can't help but think that a lot of the frustration with Congress, with [[Page H63]] this government, throughout the country is not a function of our inability or unwillingness to work the will of the American people. As we remember now this tragedy of 3 years ago and also remember the incredible work of Gabby Giffords over these last 3 years in trying to create a saner approach to guns in this country, it is important that we recognize that we do have an obligation to respond to what the American people want us to do. And if we would take simple steps, sane steps and logical steps, like requiring everyone who purchases a weapon in this country to undergo a background check, then maybe our approval rating, maybe the confidence and the credibility of government will improve slightly.

    So it is an honor to stand here on the floor and to pay tribute to a friend, a colleague, and a great American who continues to fight for her country and our citizens and to urge all of us to think about what she has stood for over the last 3 years and rededicate our efforts to improving the lives of and the security of the American people.

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