DeGette: “How many more moments of silence do we have to have?”
DENVER – While most Colorado politicians are steering clear of the renewed debate over gun control in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting, Congresswoman Diana DeGette is speaking up.
On Tuesday, DeGette joined Congress’s most well-known gun control advocate, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, at a press conference to call for a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.
DeGette and McCarthy were both elected to Congress in 1996; McCarthy ran for office solely to do something about guns after her husband was murdered in a 1993 shooting spree at a Long Island Railroad stop, and she and DeGette have worked together on gun control measures before.
“Since Rep. McCarthy and I have been in Congress, we’ve had 23 moments of silence on the Floor of the House for victims of gun violence,” DeGette said. “Let me say that again – 23 moments of silence. And we’ll have another one later today for the Aurora theater massacre.
“How many more moments of silence do we have to have? How many more prayer vigils do we have to go to? How many more memorial services and funerals must we attend? The time has come to end the same old conversations and instead, come together to stop terrible shootings from becoming mass casualties.”
On Tuesday, DeGette noted that three of the 12 people killed in the Aurora shooting lived in her district, while taking issue with the notion, agreed upon by most political pundits, that the most recent mass shooting won’t spur a serious discussion about guns, never mind any new legislation.
“Our same community went through the horrific experience of Columbine back in 1999,” DeGette said. “Since then our nation has suffered through Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, and of course the shooting of our friend and colleague Gabby Giffords last year, just to name a few. In every case, in the days following the violence, while everyone grieves and mourns the great losses, we hear the same tired, stale arguments from pundits on both sides of the aisle: ‘Gun control is off the table…’ ‘It’s a nonstarter’… ‘there’s no political will to do it.’
“Well I think all of us standing here today refuse to accept that,” she continued. “Yes, the Second Amendment grants Americans the right to own a gun. But the Second Amendment does not grant people the right to walk into a theater with a high-capacity ammunition clip and kill or maim scores of their fellow Americans.”
Perlmutter leads moment of silence in Congress
Also Tuesday, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, whose district includes Aurora, introduced a resolution honoring and remembering all those impacted by the shooting Friday.
Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet also sponsored the resolution along with the other six members of Colorado’s House delegation.
The text of the resolution is as follows:
Whereas on July 20, 2012, an armed gunman opened fire at
a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and wounding 58 others;
Whereas many individuals at the theater selflessly sought to aid and protect others above their own safety;
Whereas the Aurora Police Department and the Aurora Fire Department quickly and bravely acted to prevent the additional loss of life; and
Whereas local, State, and Federal law enforcement, firefighter, and medical service professionals performed their duties with utmost skill and coordination:
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress—
(1) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the heinous atrocities that occurred in Aurora, Colorado;
(2) offers its condolences to the families, friends, and loved ones of those who were killed in the attack and expresses its hope for the rapid and complete recovery of the wounded;
(3) applauds the hard work and dedication exhibited by the hundreds of local, State, and Federal officials and the others who offered their support and assistance; and
(4) honors the resilience of the community of the City of Aurora and the State of Colorado in the face of such adversity.