Senator Murray Calls for Congress to Act on Gun Violence

Senator Murray Calls for Congress to Act on Gun Violence

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Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor urging Congress to take action to adopt simple reforms to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. Murray called for improved background checks, ending the illegal pipeline of guns, and strengthening our mental health system so that the minority of those facing mental illness who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others get the help they need. Murray referenced recent gun-related tragedies at Seattle Pacific University and at Marysville-Pilchuck High School as she urged Congress to listen to the American people and enact reforms immediately.

 “I speak today on an issue that hits far too close to home for far too many families in Washington state and across the country,” Murray said. “In Roseburg, Oregon. In Blacksburg, Virginia. In Newtown, Connecticut. In Seattle, Washington – where a student at Seattle Pacific University opened fire just over a year ago. In Marysville, Washington – where a teenager killed four students in a high school cafeteria before turning the gun on himself. And in so many other communities – too many to list.”

Murray added, “I echo the questions I’ve heard from so many people in Washington state. What will it take for this Congress to adopt simple, common-sense reforms? Why would this Congress hesitate at taking even the most basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals? Why do we fail to act when children at school, young adults on campus, women in abusive relationships – and so many others – are so vulnerable to the threat of gun violence?”

She then called for improved background checks and mental illness support.

 “It’s long past time for us to improve background checks,” Murray said. “It’s long past time for us to end the illegal pipeline of guns that contribute to crime. And M. President – I think it’s also important to note that too often, those who commit terrible acts of violence needed help and intervention that they didn’t get. To be clear – they represent a very small minority of the many people in our country who struggle with mental illness.”

Full remarks are below.

 “M. President, I speak today on an issue that hits far too close to home for far too many families in Washington state and across the country.

“In Roseburg, Oregon. In Blacksburg, Virginia. In Newtown, Connecticut.

“In Seattle, Washington – where a student at Seattle Pacific University opened fire just over a year ago. In Marysville, Washington – where a teenager killed four students in a high school cafeteria before turning the gun on himself. And in so many other communities – too many to list.

“M. President – in the hours, days, and weeks after those shootings in my state, the communities showed incredible resilience and strength. But I can tell you – anyone who’s been affected by gun violence understands all too well that all the strength in the world will never erase the pain of the parents who lost a child – or the students who lost friends and teachers.

“So Mr. President, today I echo the questions I’ve heard from so many people in Washington state.

“What will it take for this Congress to adopt simple, common-sense reforms? Why would this Congress hesitate at taking even the most basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals? Why do we fail to act when children at school, young adults on campus, women in abusive relationships – and so many others – are so vulnerable to the threat of gun violence?

“I know this is a complex issue – but that doesn’t mean we should do nothing. It’s long past time for us to improve background checks. It’s long past time for us to end the illegal pipeline of guns that contribute to crime. And Mr. President – I think it’s also important to note that too often, those who commit terrible acts of violence needed help and intervention that they didn’t get.

“To be clear – they represent a very small minority of the many people in our country who struggle with mental illness. But when so many lives are truly on the line, we need a comprehensive approach. And that should include strengthening our mental health care system so that support is available for those who need it. Mr. President – this issue isn’t going away.

“I wish it would. I wish we never had to have this conversation again. I wish we never had to hear about the latest child killed – the latest school upended. I know we all wish that. But wishing won’t make it happen. It’s time for Congress to listen to the American people – and act.

“Thank you. I yield the floor.”

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