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Mrs. BEATTY. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to take my first opportunity to address my colleagues from the House floor, to participate in a discussion on an issue that I find very troubling, at a crisis point for our Nation.
But first let me thank our chairwoman, Marcia Fudge, for her outstanding leadership and for organizing the Special Order hour to address the issue of the senseless violence facing our Nation.
Our country, more than ever, is facing a culture of violence. Unfortunately, we are now living in a society where mass killings have gone from being an extremely rare occurrence to a common occurrence.
According to Harvard Health Policy Review, each year approximately 30,000 people in the United States die as a result of gunfire, and about 80,000 people are wounded. We are faced with living in a culture where, now, more than 6.6 million violent crimes--murder, rape, assault, and robbery--are committed each year.
We are living in a culture of violence where our children see 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence in media and in their communities at a very early age. Colleagues, these statistics are too many, and it is time for action now. This problem must be fixed. We must remember, when we talk about rights, children have a right to be safe.
So I applaud President Obama and Vice President Biden for proactively taking the necessary steps to address this critical issue. It's going to take all of us united, regardless of party affiliation or our differing views on constitutional rights, to stem this tide of violence.
More importantly, we must take a hard look at funding for mental health services and other services; we must look at synching technology to ensure proper and tighter access to firearms; we must place adequate controls on ammunition.
Bottom line: We must protect our schools, our communities. Children and families must be safe.
I respectfully ask my colleagues to make this issue of violence a priority and to support our Nation's leadership as they work through resolving this challenge, which should not be difficult if we compromise and keep focusing on saving lives.
Madam Chair, I pledge to support you and to support all my other colleagues with the Congressional Black Caucus to make a difficult task safe and to protect the lives of our children and families from gunfire and a culture of violence.
I thank you for my time.
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