Today, ten years ago, 26 people, including 20 young children, were murdered in their classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On this day, we are obligated to take the time to remember the lives that were tragically cut short by gun violence in a place meant to nurture and grow young minds.
This terrible day united parents, teachers, communities, and advocates in grief and in outrage. So many were left asking: how many more children will die because of gun violence before our leaders take meaningful action?
“I am overcome by pain and grief as I look back on the last ten years. Many families in Newtown, Connecticut are still left with empty chairs at the dinner table. Thoughts and prayers are not enough to honor the memory of those children who were slain in their classroom. Every person senselessly murdered by gun violence is a failure of our elected leaders who sit back and do nothing but offer thoughts and prayers while they cash checks from the NRA,” said Rep. Robin Kelly. “I am in this fight because of the strength and resiliency of the parents who turned their unspeakable grief into action. I will never, ever stop fighting for continued common sense gun reform that will save thousands of lives.”
This year, Congress finally took a small step toward change by passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The first of its kind in nearly three decades. This bill will prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals, require enhanced background checks for buyers under 21, and support mental health programs that will help to keep schools safe.
This Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was a step in the right direction, but it is nowhere near what our country needs to combat the scourge of gun violence that senselessly claims innocent lives every single day.
Congresswoman Robin Kelly has worked for years alongside survivors, parents and activists to push for legislation in Congress that meaningfully addresses this crisis. The Congresswomen is also a Co-Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. In the 117th Congress alone, Congresswoman Kelly has sponsored five pieces of legislation to address this ongoing crisis:
This bill would strengthen language and modernize the way gun dealers obtain a federal firearm license.
This bill would specify the prohibition of straw purchasing of firearms, making straw purchasing a federal crime. Similar language to this legislation was included in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
This bill prohibits firearm purchases from individuals convicted of a violent crime, misdemeanor or domestic violence incident.
- H.R.881 – To require the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on public health.
This bill would require the Surgeon General to submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on the public’s health.
This bill would remove the exclusion of pistols, revolvers and other firearms from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) definition of “consumer product.”
Congress must treat gun violence like the public health crisis that it is. That means approaching the issue holistically and addressing root causes so that the people most affected have more opportunities to live better lives. Congresswoman Kelly has continually pushed for policy solutions that create hope in our communities, so that young people pick up coding and construction skills instead of guns and bullets. In other communities, particularly rural communities, decades of declining economic opportunity and a historic level of farm bankruptcies are driving a suicide crisis that’s quietly claiming the lives of many Americans and worsened by easy access to firearms.
The 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook is a stain on our nation. We can never replace the lives that were lost on that day, but we can continue to take action now to prevent even more lives from being taken by guns in this country. Congress must find the courage to act. Congresswoman Robin Kelly will hold the memory of the 26 Sandy Hook victims with her every day and she continues to fight tirelessly for meaningful gun violence prevention legislation.