03/14/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/14/2018 10:46
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative Sandy Levin (D-MI) along with dozens of Congressional colleagues staged a walkout from the U.S. Capitol in solidarity with students across the country organizing and participating in similar walkouts, demanding legislative action to prevent gun violence.
Before walking out, Rep. Levin delivered remarks on the House Floor calling on House Republican Leaders and the President to allow votes on legislation that would ban assault weapons and improve the background checks system, among other gun violence prevention solutions.
Earlier this morning, the Congressman sent a letter to the student leaders and walkout participants from his district, commending them for their efforts and letting them know that he will continue to push for federal legislation to prevent gun violence.
Rep. Levin's remarks from the House Floor follows:
(Remarks as prepared)
Mr. Speaker, students from across the nation, including in the 9th Congressional District in Michigan, are demanding that their voices be heard on the issue of gun violence. They are upset with the carnage they have witnessed. They are fearful for their safety. And they are tired of excuses and inaction.
But one month after the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, not to mention so many prior school shootings, Republican leaders in Congress have failed to bring up any legislation that might meaningful control the weapons being used to kill and wound so many Americans.
No bill on assault weapons. No bill on improving background checks. No bill to ban bump stocks. Nothing. This is a terrible moment of silence, when we desperately need a moment of action.
While there is no single answer to gun violence, any credible response must address the weapons of war that are turning our schools, houses of worship, movie theaters and concerts into battle fields.
Assault weapons with magazines holding 30 bullets are not needed by hunters, nor are they required for self-defense. They are killing machines, and increasing numbers of our fellow Americans have become their victims.
Congress must stand up to the NRA and say enough. Even President Trump called out Republican Members of Congress for being too afraid of the NRA to act, saying the NRA has 'great power over you people, they have less power over me.' But ever since, President Trump has been back-tracking, showing he too is more scared of the N.R.A.'s political muscle than he is of the American public's demand for change.
This outcome is depressingly familiar. 50 years ago, one week after Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, I spoke on the issue of gun violence at Wayne State University in Michigan.
I felt compelled to speak about the myths that the NRA was spreading regarding any effort toward sensible gun control. In my 1968 speech, I said 'One of the favorite sayings of the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby is that 'guns don't kill people, people kill people.' The figures show the inaccuracy of the statement. The truth is that 'people with guns kill people.''
This remains as true today as it was 50 years ago. And yet we still remain paralyzed by the NRA.
And what is the NRA's solution to gun violence - more guns. More guns in the classroom by arming teachers; more guns on the streets through lax concealed carry laws; and more guns crossing state lines by over-riding local laws. In their deranged math, more guns somehow equals less violence.
Grieving parents and terrified students deserve so much better. They are tired of the stonewalling, the diversion, and the deception. They are demanding real action to stop gun violence. Let us act now.