Congressman Jim McGovern

Representing the 2nd District of Massachussetts
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McGovern, House Democrats Call on GOP to Finally Act on Bipartisan Gun Legislation

Sep 14, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) managed today’s floor debate for House Democrats and led more than three dozen House Democrats who came to the House Floor to call on House Republicans to end their inaction on gun violence and finally allow the House to debate and vote on bipartisan gun reform legislation. Click Here for Video of Speech.

Congressman McGovern and House Democrats called for House Republicans to allow a debate and vote on H.R. 1217, the bipartisan King-Thompson Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, a bill that expands the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet or in classified ads or H.R. 1076, the bipartisan “No Fly, No Buy” legislation authored by Republican Congressman Peter King, which would give the Attorney General the discretion to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns or explosives – keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of would-be terrorists.

Below is an Excerpt of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:

“In June, when 49 innocent people were ruthlessly killed in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Americans across the country were heartbroken and looked to their leaders for action. Surely in the face of such tragedy, House Republicans would put partisan politics aside. Surely both parties could come together to pass bipartisan legislation to reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of the wrong hands.

“House Democrats held a 25-hour sit-in on the House floor, raising the voices of millions of Americans who are sick and tired of seeing their families and neighbors gunned down in communities all across the country while Congress does absolutely nothing.

“Instead, Speaker Ryan and House Republicans abruptly shut Congress down for summer recess – the longest in the modern era. While House Republicans were on summer vacation, more than 2,300 Americans were killed by guns.

“Now Congress is back and instead of doing the right thing and finally bringing bipartisan gun reform legislation to the floor, we hear through the press that Speaker Ryan and House Republicans are looking at ways to punish Democrats for our sit-in demanding action to reduce gun violence. Really? Congress is only scheduled to be in session for two weeks until we recess again and this is one of the Republican priorities?

“We need real leadership, not more finger wagging. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to ask themselves is this really what your constituents want. Is this what they sent you to Congress to do?

“All we get from them is nothing. All we get from them is silence and indifference and apathy. It is sad and it is pathetic.

Following Congressman McGovern’s opening remarks, 39 House Democrats came to the House Floor, each asking that Speaker Ryan and House Republicans allow the House to finally debate and vote on H.R. 1217. Each request was denied. This bill is the House companion to the bipartisan agreement on background checks struck by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).

Click Here for Video of Speech.

Text of Today’s Speech Below:

“In June, when 49 innocent people were ruthlessly killed in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Americans across the country were heartbroken and looked to their leaders for action. Surely in the face of such tragedy, House Republicans would put partisan politics aside. Surely both parties could come together to pass bipartisan legislation to reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of the wrong hands.

“House Democrats tried repeatedly to bring up bipartisan gun reform legislation that the overwhelming majority of the American people would support. The bills would expand background checks and stop anyone on the FBI’s terrorist watch list from buying a gun. What could be more common sense than that?

“All we wanted was to debate the legislation and have a fair up-or-down vote. But Republicans continued to put up roadblocks and refused to even let us consider these bills. So House Democrats held a 25-hour sit-in on the House floor, raising the voices of millions of Americans who are sick and tired of seeing their families and neighbors gunned down in communities all across the country while Congress does absolutely nothing.

“Instead, Speaker Ryan and House Republicans abruptly shut Congress down for summer recess – the longest in the modern era. While House Republicans were on summer vacation, more than 2,300 Americans were killed by guns.

“Now Congress is back and instead of doing the right thing and finally bringing bipartisan gun reform legislation to the floor, we hear through the press that Speaker Ryan and House Republicans are looking at ways to punish Democrats for our sit-in demanding action to reduce gun violence. Really? Congress is only scheduled to be in session for two weeks until we recess again and this is one of the Republican priorities?

“We need real leadership, not more finger wagging. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to ask themselves is this really what your constituents want. Is this what they sent you to Congress to do?

“And let me be clear, if Republicans think that we will be intimidated or silenced by any legislation that they bring to the floor to slap us on the wrist simply for asking Congress to do its job, they are wrong.

“The fact that Republicans are appalled by our demand to debate, and the fact that they are appalled by our demand that there be a debate and vote on gun safety legislation, I find outrageous. My question is, why are my Republican friends not appalled by the massacres in Orlando and San Bernardino and Aurora and Newtown and Charleston? I could go on and on. Why are they not appalled by the gun deaths that happen each and every day in these United States of America?

“All we get from them is nothing. All we get from them is silence and indifference and apathy. Oh, and legislation to condemn Democrats for wanting to do something. It is sad and it is pathetic.

“I’m going to ask my colleagues to defeat the previous question. And if we defeat the previous question, I will bring up an amendment to the rule to bring up the bipartisan No Fly, No Buy legislation that would allow the Attorney General to bar the sale of firearms and explosives to those on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.

“The time to act is now. There were more than 2,000 gun-related deaths this summer alone while we were on recess. This country cannot tolerate Republican intransigence any longer. We’re asking and we’re responding that the Republican leadership in this House do its job.”

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