AT JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MARKUP, CONYERS CALLS ON COMMITTEE TO ADDRESS GUN VIOLENCE
Ranking Member Conyers delivered the following remarks during the Judiciary Committee markup:
Before addressing the bill before us, I want to begin my remarks today by extending my condolences to the family and friends of the 58 individuals killed in the shooting in Las Vegas, and expressing my hopes for the recovery of the nearly 500 people injured.
Congress has a responsibility to find a way to help prevent tragedies like this, as well as the daily incidence of gun violence in our communities. I am disappointed that this Committee has not addressed this issue at all this Congress.
In fact, when legislation weakening our laws on silencers and armor piercing ammunition was being prepared for floor consideration, this Committee waived jurisdiction. We were prepared to let it go – without a hearing or markup – as if it didn’t merit our time or attention.
Of course, I opposed those provisions because I believed they would take us in the wrong direction by making us more vulnerable to gun violence. I am glad the Speaker has now indicated that he has no plans to bring that bill to the floor.
In light of the Las Vegas shooting, and the daily toll of gun violence that impacts all of our communities, it is time for the Committee to take action.
While I’m sure our staff members will benefit from the briefing on so-called “bump stocks” that the ATF will conduct for them on Friday, it is long overdue for us to conduct hearings on the issue of gun violence, and to adopt legislation intended to strengthen our gun laws.
With respect to “bump stocks,” Speaker Ryan has said that he thinks a regulator approach by the ATF is the appropriate way to address them, but we have not even had a hearing here in this Committee for us to hear about and discuss different approaches.
Our overall objective on these issues must be to protect our citizens from becoming victims, whether it is from a mass attack or any other, sadly more common act of gun violence.
Indeed, we do not need mass attacks to remind us of the urgency of the issue, as each day’s news in communities across our country should tell us.
Every day of inaction is a lost opportunity to do something about this.
And so, as we prepare to consider the bills scheduled for this markup session today, I hope that the Committee will take up the issue of gun violence as soon as possible.