June 08, 2022


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA) held a leadership press conference where they highlighted House Democrats’ work to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation, which will keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. They were joined by Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) and House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (D-CA).

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We had a very passion-filled Caucus this morning, discussing the crisis that has befallen America with respect to this gun violence epidemic that has clearly been with us for far too long. It's past time that Congress, particularly the Senate, that the Congress act to crush this gun violence epidemic here in America – a gun violence epidemic that should shock the conscience and has devastated children, lives, families and communities over and over and over again. We can either respond or we can ignore the crisis and act as if everything is okay. House Democrats are going to respond, as we have consistently done, with the fierce urgency of now.
It's unacceptable that in the United States of America, gun violence is the leading cause of death for children. That's unacceptable. Why do we have 4% of the world's population, more than 40% of the world's guns, the only developed nation in the world that has more guns than people? Isn't it reasonable to do everything that we can to make sure that those guns don't fall into the hands of individuals intent on inflicting carnage on children, communities, families? Loved ones for the people of the United States of America? Shouldn't we do everything possible to stop the carnage? That's exactly what House Democrats are going to do today.
I'm thankful for the leadership of all of the Members of the Caucus, but in particular, Representative McBath and Representative Thompson, who we will hear from momentarily. I'm hopeful that at least some of our Republican colleagues will do the right thing. Stop burying your head in the sand. Respond to the people of America. Join us in the effort to crush this gun violence epidemic.
VICE CHAIR AGUILAR: And as the leaders next to me, Mike Thompson and Lucy McBath, we'll hear from next – they're talking about important legislation that is in front of us today, protecting our kids, protecting our communities, but House Democrats are also focused on protecting our democracy, and the work that the Select Committee will be doing tomorrow will do just that.After months of investigations, interviewing more than a thousand people, reviewing roughly 140,000 documents, 472 tips to our tip line, we're ready to tell the story about what happened January 6 and what led up to it. This is not a responsibility that anyone on the committee takes lightly, but it's absolutely necessary to set the record straight for the American public.
You may hear from some of our Republican colleagues that will attack our committee in the press, but it's important to note that every substantive attack that they leveled against the committee in court, they've lost. In these hearings, we'll begin to remember that this is a group who has come together in an apolitical way, in a nonpartisan way, to tell that story. We've asked to take the politics out of it by creating a nonpartisan commission. That's what the people behind me and what House Democrats supported, but that wasn't enough for Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell and the former president's closest allies.
So, these hearings will be a chance for the country to come together to rally around the truth and unite around the rule of law. We owe it to the officers who lost their lives and the officers who were injured to tell that story and to ensure that this never happens again. We're eager to get to the answers and we're eager to take this step and, like the Chairman said, we all stand united today in talking about the issue before us, gun violence prevention and the need to pass meaningful gun safety legislation. And these two people have done a lot of work with Chairman Nadler in order to do that. And I want to give a special thanks to Lucy McBath, who has a piece of legislation within this and also on the floor tomorrow, working with Congressman Salud Carbajal on an important piece of legislation that the Caucus stands united behind.
REP. MCBATH: Well, good morning. To those of you who know my story, you know that I came to Congress basically as a mom on a mission. A mom on a mission simply just to end gun violence. And, yes, I'm very passionate about all of the policies that I worked so hard with my colleagues on. But for me being a mom on a mission to make sure what happened to me and my family does not happen to any one else in the country is why I truly believe I am here. And this moment we are living in truly what feels like to me an inflection point on nearly the decade-long mission that I have been fighting on since I lost my son, Jordan, simply for playing loud music in his car.
We cannot be the only nation in the developed world where our children are torn apart on Tuesday and their deaths are gone from the news cycle by Wednesday. That is why I am so grateful for this leadership and for our Caucus in working to get my red flag bill and all of our bills, this phenomenal package that will save lives, to the floor this week.
Over the coming days, I look forward to the passage of not only my bill, but all these bills and any legislation that addresses gun violence prevention, because we have solutions that the majority of Americans expect and agree upon. They believe in these solutions. They are commonsense solutions and compromises that will keep Americans alive. We have the opportunity right now, as a nation, to fully do what is right. We have the opportunity right now to address, as it was expressed, the carnage of gun violence in America. Because this is the time, right now. This is the moment. We are facing the challenge of our lifetime. We must summon the courage to do what is right. This is the challenge of our era.
REP. THOMPSON: Chairman Jeffries, thank you very much. It's an honor to be with all of you today. Hakeem is correct, I chair the Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention. I'm also a gun owner. I'm a responsible gun owner and have been for as long as I can remember. I'm a combat veteran, so I have experience with firearms both in the field, hunting and in war.
I have a parent friend of mine who lost his daughter to gun violence, who called me to tell me that if any of the Uvalde parents would like to talk to parents who've lost kids that he and his wife will be available to talk to them. 15 minutes later, he called me back and he said his teenager overheard the conversation and his teenager wanted him to call me back and say if there were any brothers or sisters who lost siblings, that their teenager would be willing to talk to them. I can't believe we've gone here. This is a dark place, and there's things that we can do to fix it.
The package that we're going to put on the floor today and Lucy's red flag bill tomorrow will save lives. We know that they will save lives. Every bill in that package will save lives. We should pass that, and it should be passed with strong bipartisan support. There's no excuse. There's no excuse to be against the safe storage of firearms. There's no excuse to be against gun trafficking and straw purchasing. Any one of our colleagues that gets up on the floor and tries to dream up some excuse – they are so off the mark, it is unbelievable. Every bill, every bill will save lives. Every bill should pass with bipartisan support.
Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.