Today, after three children and three adults were killed in a school shooting in Nashville, TN on Monday, Representatives David N. Cicilline (RI-01) and Lucy McBath (GA-07), Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), and Subcommittee on Crime Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) are calling on Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan to schedule a vote on the Assault Weapons Ban. Congressman Cicilline is sponsor of the bill and Congresswoman McBath will be taking over the legislation upon Congressman Cicilline’s departure from the House at the end of May.
In their letter, the Members write, “It is too late for the victims we have already lost, but it is not too late to prevent more victims in the future. We know that while assault weapons are available on the market, shooters will use these readily available weapons of war to commit mass murders in our schools, places of worship, grocery stores, movie theaters, malls, and nightclubs. They will keep coming for us, and for our children. We must stop them by banning the sale of assault weapons – a measure that has proven to be effective.”
The full text of the letter is below
Dear Speaker McCarthy and Chairman Jordan:
Once again, our country was shaken yesterday when a shooter entered a Nashville elementary school and murdered three nine-year-old children and three staff members. As we grieve for the victims’ families and Nashville community, our anger grows – anger that America keeps allowing its children to be slaughtered while lawmakers stand by offering only thoughts and prayers. The time to act was yesterday. Last July, the Judiciary Committee marked up the Assault Weapons Ban, and the bill passed out of the House with bipartisan support. We must take the same action again this Congress and swiftly bring the Assault Weapons Ban to markup and to the House floor for a vote.
Gun violence is a worsening epidemic in our country. This year, we have already had 129 mass shootings. By March 2021 and 2022, there had only been 100. In the three preceding years, the country didn’t see 100 mass shootings until May.
There have been 376 school shootings since Columbine, including 46 in 2022 alone, and over 300,000 children have experienced gun violence at school in that timeframe. This includes the horrors we saw in Sandy Hook, Parkland, and Uvalde, among so many more.
Like in many of these school shootings, the shooter in Nashville was armed with assault-style weapons. We know the danger that these weapons pose to our communities, and that banning them is an effective way to reduce gun violence and gun-related deaths in our country. Compared with the decade before its adoption, the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was associated with a 25% drop in gun massacres and a 40% drop in fatalities. And as soon as the ban expired, fatalities and shootings skyrocketed again. Experts estimate that if the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban had remained in place, we would have seen 70% fewer deaths from mass shootings.
Across the country today, our children express fear of gun violence in their communities. They are frightened to go to school, church, parades, or even the playground. They are trained in active shooter drills, and some of them even spend their time planning how to wipe blood on themselves and play dead if a shooter comes into their school. They are referred to as “Generation Lockdown.”
This is disgusting.
Children should not have to fear for their lives or plan for how to defend themselves against shooters armed with assault rifles. They should not have to plan to play dead, or practice locking themselves in bulletproof rooms, or listen for loud bangs in their hallways.
Teenage survivors shouldn’t have to lobby lawmakers to pass commonsense legislation, or demand action in the streets of Washington or the halls of the Capitol.
This is not their job. It’s ours. And we have failed.
It is too late for the victims we have already lost, but it is not too late to prevent more victims in the future. We know that while assault weapons are available on the market, shooters will use these readily available weapons of war to commit mass murders in our schools, places of worship, grocery stores, movie theaters, malls, and nightclubs. They will keep coming for us, and for our children. We must stop them by banning the sale of assault weapons – a measure that has proven to be effective.
We accordingly demand an immediate markup of the Assault Weapons Ban in the House Judiciary Committee, and that the bill swiftly move to the House floor for a vote.
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