Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined leading women Members of Congress and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to highlight the urgency for common-sense gun violence prevention legislation to protect our communities, families, and schools. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you very much Shannon for your wonderful leadership, for being a person – a mom who is making a difference, a tremendous difference, measured in the tens of thousands in just a short period of time. Thank you Shannon for your being a founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“When I walked in here and this is the Gabe Zimmerman Room, named for one man who was killed at the time in Tucson, two-years ago when Gabby Giffords was wounded. Well, we named it for him so that every day we meet in this room and we think of him and we think of our responsibility. And as was said by Marie, the incident in Newtown just drove this home to us so severely. So when I came in and saw some of the button: ‘protect children, not guns.’ Protect children, not guns. Who among us in the House and the Senate – I don’t think anyone, would not stand in front of a child to protect that child, or those children, from gun violence. Right?
[Assembled Members reply: “Right.”]
“Right. Every Members of Congress, right?”
“So, we’re asking them to have the same courage to stand in the way of those who would prevent gun violence prevention legislation from going forward. Have the political courage to get it done. I commended Shannon Watts for her leadership, Dr. Sandberg who had very clearly spelled out to us the need for evidence based decision making. And the evidence is there; there are those who would prevent us from documenting the need, but the evidence is there for us to make the right decisions. And in our Caucus, Congressman Bobby Scott leads the way in trying to reduce violence in our society based on evidence. In our Caucus, Mike Thompson is leading the way in our Gun Violence Prevention Task Force which goes to another label: ‘Background Checks Save Lives.’ And isn’t that so? So who could stand in the way of that?
“When Marie was talking about her family situation and what they had, I was thinking of another one of our Members, Congressman Bobby Rush from Illinois who spoke at one of our women’s press conferences on the subject and he said, he said: ‘I’ll never forget the primal scream of my wife when we found out our son was killed by gun violence.’ The primal scream of a mother. Well we want our voices heard in advance of that and that’s why what you’re doing is so very, very important to the safety of our country, to help us honor our pledge that we take to ‘protect and defend’ the Constitution, our country, the American people.
“We have up here some of the great heroes of this. Senator Feinstein has just joined us from Senate business, she has been a champion…
“We’re so proud of her and any time somebody says ‘never’ about something she’s trying to do, well they’re just wasting their time, they might as well say ‘yes’ right up front and save time. Senator Boxer who’s helped us with safety in the schools in the Senate, we’re very proud of her. And really, our inspiration in the Congress, and she’ll talk about her own story, but I – I don’t know if she will tell you how much she means to all of us because of this turning her personal grief into better policy to protect America’s families, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, such a leader.
”Our other colleagues have been mentioned and you’ll be hearing from them, but Elizabeth Esty has really led us as an inspiration, prayerfully, hopefully, and in a very strong way because Newtown is in her district – she was just a newly elected Member of Congress and she rose to the occasion in such a magnificent way.
“So again, we’ll be hearing from our other colleagues, but I just wanted to point out a few who are up here and recognize that everybody has a very strong interest in getting this done. You have come to the Hill, you’re the cavalry that has come to take the Hill for this very important cause. We can try to maneuver internally all we can to try to convince our colleagues, as Congresswoman Maloney has done, Congresswoman Lee, Congresswoman Matsui, Congresswoman DeLauro, and so many other Members of Congress, but without the outside mobilization we cannot get the boldest common denominator to get the best possible legislation passed.
“Our President said it very well: ‘This time must be different. We all agree with that.
“Thank you for what you do.”