Pelosi Remarks at Gun Violence Prevention Task Force’s Forum with Young Leaders and Students


Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force forum to hear proposals from young leaders and students.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman [Thompson].  Thank you for your leadership of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and so many Members of that task force and other Members of Congress who are here – all Democrats – I wish it were bipartisan.  I know that your legislation strives to be bipartisan.  I want to thank all the advocates and the rest who are with us today for their courageous leadership but especially our witnesses.  I read some of the testimony that was available to me earlier.

I thank Charlie Mirsky, Alfonso Calderon, Jennifer Mirbelle, Malachi Dunn, Devery Russell and Taylore Norwood.  I thank all of you because you bring your difference experiences to bear.  Whether we are talking about a school which tears at the heart of our country but with the recognition that every day in the streets of our cities, kids are at the mercy of.  You give me confidence because I think you will make the difference.  I have confidence in the impatience of youth to shorten the distance between what is inconceivable to some is inevitable to us and inevitable to us that we will pass strong gun violence prevention legislation.

Some of what you have suggested: strengthening background checks, expanding existing systems to cover all commercial firearms, gun shows, the internet etcetera, securing funding the for CDC to conduct research on gun violence prevention.  It’s not enough to say, ‘You can do it’ to the CDC, you have to have the resources to do so.  Allowing for gun violence restraining orders that many of you have suggested, that would take guns out of the hands of those who are at risk to others or themselves and then establishing a select committee on gun violence prevention.  Thank you Mr. Thompson for your leadership on all of these.

We are still waiting for an answer from the Speaker on the gun violence select committee to study causes of the gun violence epidemic, to craft smart, effective solutions to end gun violence and to remember and to say to our colleagues, ‘there are better ways to go than some of what the Administration is putting forth’: hardening schools, push students of color and students with disabilities into the school to prison pipeline, arming teachers creating a culture of fear and risk more violence, cutting more than a quarter of the budget for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is simply nonsensical, and thank you Mr. Chairman for your leadership and the Task Force for increasing that funding.

The GOP calls for thoughts and prayers – and yes, we want to be in everyone’s thoughts and prayers but that is not a substitute for action.  You call for thoughts and prayers, call for a hearing.  Give us a vote.  Give us a vote on any one of these bills.  We reject these unsafe, dangerous priorities and continue to fight for real action to protect children in our schools, and when we people talk about the NRA, the gun lobby and that’s what our Republican Members are afraid of – afraid of?  What about the fear our children have in their communities, in their schools, in their neighborhoods?  Their survival.  Your political survival – I say to my colleagues – is nowhere as important compared to the survival of America’s children, so let’s put them in order.  Enough is enough.

Thank you all for adding to the debate, giving us more to go forward and for the impatience of youth.  I know it will happen.  You are the tipping point.  I have never felt this way so much before.  You give us hope.  Thank you and I yield back.

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