Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at a press conference joining families affected by gun violence and advocates from Newtown Action Alliance and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence to demand action. Below are the Leader’s opening remarks:
“Good morning, everyone.
“Frequently, over the course of our lives, if you’re a speaker or a leader or something, people will say to you, ‘What keeps you up at night? What issues take you to a place where you can’t sleep?’ No issue comes even close to the issue about failing in the Congress of the United States to pass gun violence safety precautions – gun safety laws. I’m here to honor with action those who shared their stories with us – how transformative that was: to lose a family member in such a violent way, and not see any action – honor or otherwise – on the part of the Congress of the United States.
“Under the leadership of Mike Thompson in the House, who is the Chair of our Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, we have been advocating for these three initiatives: the background check bill; stopping the ability of people on the FBI [Terrorist] Watchlist to walk in and buy a gun 91 percent of the time; and also to create a Select Committee on Gun Violence Prevention.
“We have many moments of silence on the floor of the House, but we must not remain silent. If that silence is not replaced by action, we do not deserve the honor of even having a moment of silence. So it’s been around a thousand days – more than a thousand days – since Newtown. And in that period of time, there have been a thousand mass killings – almost one a day. And that is not to count all of the violence that has taken the lives of so many of the families of [those] that we have heard, so courageously, appeal to us to honor them with action.
“Well, in addition to the bills that we talked about, I came from our House Democratic Caucus. And they empowered me to say to you here that we’re on the course of a bill, to pass an appropriations bill to keep government open. In that bill is a prohibition, is a ban on research on gun violence. There is a ban. It’s a terrible thing. It’s been there since the late ’90s –  years. [Nineteen] years. The person who was the author of that ban on research has written a letter saying: ‘I was wrong. I take it back. We shouldn’t have this ban anymore.’
“And so, what I’m saying is: there’s a vehicle leaving the station, it’s called the omnibus bill – a bus leaving the station, omnibus bill, meaning all of the legislation for appropriations. And we must insist that we cannot have a bill leave the station that still has that ban on research in it.
“That is how we can honor – the bill would have, it would have bipartisan support. We tried to do it in [Appropriations] committee; now we’ll try to do it in negotiation. But your vigil, your voices, your ‘Honor with Action’ initiative is more important, your mobilization is more important than any maneuvering we can do here.
“So let’s try to take this opportunity to say: ‘You want to pass a bill that has all of your priorities in it? Our priority is to remove the ban on research on gun violence.’ Let’s do it today.”