WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Chuck Schumer, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy joined Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, along with survivors of gun violence from Charleston, Aurora, Isla Vista and Georgia, to demand a vote from Congress on life-saving background check legislation to keep guns out of dangerous hands by requiring a criminal background check on all gun sales.
The event on Capitol Hill was in response to a spate of summer gun violence – from Charleston to Chattanooga to Lafayette, to the 88 Americans who are killed by gun violence every day – that highlights the loopholes that make it easy for dangerous people to get guns. Everytown and Moms Demand Action have been galvanizing Americans to demand more than just prayers and sympathy from elected leaders, including passing common-sense background check legislation.
“Too many guns are sold without a complete background check because of human mistakes, systemic mistakes and loopholes – the task before us is to fix this great net we have created or else we will continue to wake up to headlines of preventable tragedies,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “We need to repair the net, we need to tighten the net, and we need to expand the net. Unless and until we do those three things, we will continue to see promising young lives vanish in an instant. We’ll continue to reflect on tragedy after tragedy and wonder what we could have done.”
“Every day the number of deaths caused by gun violence continues to grow – heinous, unacceptable, inhumanity that threatens to become the new normal,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. “We cannot be numbed into complacency, as Congress apparently has been. Congress must act now. Each next news bulletin bears tragic word that more innocent American lives have needlessly been lost– tragedies that can and must be prevented.”
“The best way to reduce gun violence is to keep guns away from dangerous people. The time is now for Congress to listen to the voices of the mothers and fathers, friends and loved ones who are here with us today, and act to improve our background checks system. Right now, a criminal can buy a gun if the FBI can’t complete the background check in three days. That makes no sense. We’re working to inject reason back into the law and give law enforcement the time they need to do their jobs. If it takes an extra day or two be sure we’re not arming violent offenders, it’s worth the wait,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “Some matters are nuanced, complicated and confusing, but this issue is black-and-white, right-and-wrong. If you think dangerous criminals should have easy access to guns, do nothing. If you want to stop this madness, work with us to fix this.”
“To American moms, the lives of our children and families aren’t a political game. We will ask every member of Congress a simple question: Yes or no – will you vote to make our country safer from gun violence by supporting legislation to keep guns out of dangerous hands? Americans are better than this and we deserve an answer,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We will make our voices heard in face-to-face meetings with Members of Congress here in our nation’s capital, by making phone calls, sending emails, signing petitions and when our elected leaders head home in August—we will be there too—at district offices and town hall meetings.”
“In the days after the murder of my mother and cousins in Charleston, nothing made sense. But, I’ve seen the power of rising for action and know I need to share my voice to say: enough,” said Reverend Sharon Risher, whose mother Ethel Lance and cousins Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders were killed in Charleston last month at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. “Demanding action is why I’m here in our nation’s capital today—to demand a vote from Congress on background checks on all gun sales. Avoiding this issue is unconscionable. I’ve prayed on this issue and now I’m acting on it – it’s time for our leaders to do the same.”
“Something is very wrong in our country when we can’t expect to feel safe in a movie theater, or in our shopping malls, or in our schools or in our places or worship,” said Sandy Phillips, mother of 24-year-old Jessica Ghawi, who was killed in the Aurora movie theater shooting in July 2012. “It’s time Congress put the safety of the American public ahead of the interests of the gun lobby and listen to the vast majority who are calling for common-sense legislation that will reduce gun violence and save lives.”
“In just over a month, we’ve experienced Charleston, Chattanooga and Lafayette—not to mention the untold number of shootings that occur each and every day,” said Lucy McBath, whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in 2012 in Florida over loud music and Faith Outreach Leader for Everytown for Gun Safety. “Our nation’s unique gun violence crisis — and its unacceptable, easy access to guns—emboldens dangerous people to commit crimes daily. We can do better and we must do better – the lives of our children, families and neighbors depends on Congress taking meaningful action.”
“After my son Christopher was shot and killed last year, I said that we should say to ourselves: ‘Not One More’ should be killed by senseless gun violence in this country,” said Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez was shot and killed in the May 2014 shooting near UC Santa Barbara and Senior Outreach Associate for Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’ve seen states step up to the plate by passing common-sense gun laws that will help save lives, and rejecting the gun lobby’s priorities. It’s time for Congress to do the same by listening to Americans and vote on background legislation that will keep guns out of dangerous hands.”