Schumer Floor Remarks In Solidarity With National Student Walkout for Gun SafetyMarch 14, 2018
Mr. President, at this very moment, all across the country, students are walking out of school for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 Americans who died at Stoneman Douglas High School one month ago today.
Here on the floor of the United States Senate, I join with those students in remembering the fallen students of Stoneman Douglas. I join with them in remembering the beautiful children who died at an elementary school in Newtown. I join with them in remembering the long line of American children who have perished in the slow-moving tidal wave of gun violence that’s consuming our country; all the unopened presents and uncelebrated birthdays, all the empty chairs at dinner tables, at graduations, at holidays. These kids had their whole lives ahead of them.
This has gone on too long. When a disease plagues our people, we seek a cure. When we see drug addiction stealing the lives of our youth, we get together here in Congress and try to do something about that. Why is that when it comes to gun violence, which is responsible for just as many if not more deaths, we throw our hands up and pretend like there’s no solution?
We know there are commonsense things we could do. Close the dangerous loopholes in our background check system. Ensure that anyone with a criminal history or a history of mental illness can’t get their hands on a gun. And yes, we should debate an assault weapons ban, because weapons of war have no place on our streets, no place in our schools.
While so many students today are mourning their friends and classmates, we in Congress are in a unique position. We alone have the ability to change our laws to make America safer and – God willing – prevent another one of these massacres. These horrible, horrible massacres.
What will we do with that awesome responsibility? I was here on the floor of the Senate when this body failed to advance any legislation in the wake of Sandy Hook. The shame we all felt and America felt at this body, unable to act because of a powerful, special interest that seems to have its grip on too many of our colleagues. Let this time be different. Let this time be different.
In a moment, I will read the names of the 17 Americans – fourteen children – who were killed in the horrific attack at Stoneman Douglas High School. And I’m joined by a good number of my colleagues who wish to read the names of children and other victims who have died at the hands of gun violence in their states.
May their memories inspire us to act.
Martin Duque Anguiano
I yield the floor.