Maryland’s 8th District

For Immediate Release

October 2, 2015

CONTACT:   Ian Jannetta – 202-225-1527

Van Hollen on MSNBC: ‘Scandalous and shameful’ that Congress Hasn’t Acted on Gun Violence

“Congress needs to act. It has gotten sickening. People should be angry.”

Washington, DCMaryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen joined MSNBC’s Chris Hayes last night to call on Speaker Boehner to allow Congress to vote on commonsense gun laws after yet another mass shooting in the United States. A transcript of the interview is below:

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: Joining me now, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Democrat from Maryland. Congressman, your reaction to the president`s comments today.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, Chris, the president is absolutely right. It`s tragic. It`s heartbreaking. But it`s also sickening.

It`s sickening because we see this mounting death toll from mass casualty shootings – but also every day in our neighborhoods, in our cities – and it`s sickening because we know there are common sense gun safety measures we can take to dramatically reduce the death toll and we`re not doing anything about it. And the definition of gross negligence is when you know you have a solution that will help prevent gun deaths and you don`t do anything about it.

HAYES: What does that look like? What does it mean? What are the solutions?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, we know that if you have a universal criminal background check to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people, you will reduce gun deaths. We know that.

We know that the state of Connecticut passed a law that also says you that should have a permit to purchase a weapon just like you need to get a license to drive a car. You should get a license before you can go purchase a weapon. And Johns Hopkins Center , a Professor Webster there, just did a study a few months ago showing that in the state of Connecticut the number of deaths from gun violence went down by 40 percent. Maryland just adopted a similar law two years ago and the results will be coming. I just spent yesterday in Maryland with our Maryland Attorney General, Brian Frosh, calling upon other states to adopt these laws.

And I`ve introduced legislation to incentivize other states to do it because those states that are passing these common sense gun laws are seeing reductions in deaths but they`re also vulnerable to the negligence of other states, Chris, who are not taking these common sense measures.

So we need to act on a state level but we also need to act on a congressional level, and it`s just scandalous and shameful that in the House of Representatives, we`ve never even had a vote on common sense gun legislation, never a vote on universal criminal background check legislation, never a vote on the legislation that I and so many others have introduced.

Give us a vote. And you know, Mr. Speaker, one thing he might be able to do before he leaves at the end of October is let democracy work. Let the American people watch Congress vote to decide whether or not they want to take these common sense measures that help save lives, just as the president said.

Congress needs to act. It has gotten sickening. People should be angry. And this is — the time for action is way overdue. If this were a disease, if this were a virus that was killing tens of thousands of Americans, we would have the scientists at the National Institutes of Health, we would have the folks across the country at the CDC, we would have all hands on deck. And yet we have this epidemic that`s killing Americans and nothing`s being done.

HAYES: That`s right. All right. Congressman Chris Van Hollen, thank you very much for your time.