Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, our hearts were broken over the senseless shooting deaths of 20 first grade children and their teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, and we wish that we could undue this unimaginable tragedy; but we know we can't do that. Instead, the House held a moment of silence. It is what the House does to show empathy, and it is a kind and sincere gesture, but it is not enough.
Last week, the House held a moment of silence for two adults killed by a gunman in a Portland, Oregon, shopping mall. Earlier, the House held a moment of silence after the horrific mass killings in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater; and it held a moment of silence after our colleague Gabby Giffords and her staff and constituents were shot in Arizona.
A moment of silence felt like an honorable thing to do; but, clearly, a moment of silence is not enough. Americans don't need another moment of silence from the United States Congress. They need us to pass legislation immediately to ban automatic weapons, semiautomatic weapons, high-capacity ammunition clips, and to expand access to quality mental health services. Congress needs to act now. A moment of silence is not enough. It can not substitute for action.