CONGRESSMAN CHRIS VAN HOLLEN
Maryland’s 8th District
For Immediate Release
June 22, 2016
Van Hollen Remarks on House Floor Demanding Vote on Gun Safety Legislation
Washington, DC – Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen made remarks on the House floor while participating in a sit-in demanding that Congress stay in session until a vote is held on common sense gun safety legislation. A video excerpt of his remarks is available here, and a full transcript is below:
“I am proud to stand here and to sit here with our colleagues from the great House of Representatives. But I am ashamed of the fact that this House of Representatives has remained silent and done nothing in the face of carnage around this country.
“After Aurora, what did this House do? Moment of silence.
“After Oak Creek, what did this House do? Moment of silence.
“After Newtown, what did this House do? Moment of silence.
“After Charleston? Moment of silence.
“After Orlando? Moment of silence.
“And all the carnage in between, and before, and the carnage that goes on daily in our neighborhoods and our streets? Moment of silence.
“We have learned from history that silence in the face of injustice makes this House complicit in that injustice. It makes us complicit in the carnage that goes on. It makes us responsible for lives taken when we know there are actions we can take to save lives.
“We know these common sense measures will protect the lives of the American people. Will they save everybody? No. will they reduce the heartache and the death toll? Yes they will.
“Now in the people’s House, you’d expect the people’s will to be done. These common sense gun measures are measures that we know have the overwhelming support of the American people. Democrats, Republicans, independents — over 80 percent of the American people. And who can tell us it doesn’t make sense to say that if you’re too unsafe and too much of a risk to board an airplane, that it’s ok for you to walk down the street, go to a gun shop, and buy a semi-automatic assault weapon.
“It’s no wonder the American people overwhelming support it. The American people have common sense. It’s just common sense to say that if you’ve committed a crime or if you’re unstable in some way that poses a risk, you shouldn’t be able to walk into a gun shop and get a gun — universal background checks.
“The problem in this House, which we call the people’s House, is that we have failed the American people. And what has happened is instead of control by the American people on this issue, we have a situation where the NRA has taken control of the floor of this house, lock stock and barrel. That ends today.
“Today is the day that the people’s House does the will of the American people on this fundamental issue of public safety. So Mr. Speaker, we’re here to say you can turn off the microphones, you can call for another extended moment of silence, but we will not be silenced. The voices of the American people will not be silenced. And we insist that the people’s House live up to its name, and have a vote, and do the will of the American people. Let’s get it done.”