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Public Statements

Congressional Black Caucus

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. RICHMOND. I thank the gentlelady from the Virgin Islands for yielding and commend her on her passion as a physician and someone who has taken an oath to preserve life and to make sure that people can live out their years in a meaningful way and die of natural causes.

I will just say that I'm from Louisiana, which our motto is we are the sportsman's paradise. We like to fish and we like to hunt. We like to have a fishing pole and we like to have a gun. The difference is that the guns we use and the guns that sportsmen use are rifles, and you don't need high-capacity magazines in order to hunt deer, to hunt dove, to hunt ducks, to hunt rabbit. You just don't do that.

I rise tonight in support of my colleagues because, especially in our urban cities, we are losing far too many of our children, our fathers, our mothers, our sisters, and our brothers to gun violence. And every once in a while, we'll have an event that will shake the confidence of our country and make us take a step back and rationally look at our gun laws in this country and say, Wait, we've done far too much. We've expanded the Second Amendment too far. The Founders of the Constitution, when the Second Amendment was crafted, had no idea that we would have AK-47s with clips that can hold 50 rounds.

I can just tell you about an incident in La Place, Louisiana, about 6 months ago where a gentleman was denied benefits at an office and decided he was going to his car and he was going to go back inside. One of those Good Samaritans, an older lady, called the police and said there was a man armoring up in his car. State police and our sheriffs responded to it and found the man in his car. When they found him, he had more ammunition in his trunk than State police and our sheriffs put together. He had an AK-47, another rifle, and so much ammunition.

But the scary part to that story, and why this Good Samaritan was so key, is when they arrested him, they went to his apartment and he had a suicide note there in his trailer. He had every intention of making sure that he could go in there and kill as many people as he could, even if it meant him dying. When the thugs and the criminals have more guns and more ammunition than our first responders, then we have a problem.

In urban cities, when our kids have better access to guns than textbooks, then we're a country that went wrong. We're not talking about every American's basic right to bear arms, because that is sacred, it's in our Constitution, and I believe in it. But when we start talking about assault weapons with high-capacity magazines, we're talking about weapons of mass destruction.

If you look at Newtown, if you look at Aurora and you look around our country at the incidents that have happened, these are not incidents where one or two people lose their life. If we tally the number of people in the United States that die because of gun violence, if another country entered our soil and did that to us, we would declare war and we would go out and find those people responsible. But here in the United States, we have taken the Second Amendment to protect things that are just indefensible.

I will join with my colleagues, and I will say, when I was in the Louisiana State Legislature, I authored, every year I was there, an assault weapons ban, a bill to close the gun show loopholes, to have a gun registry. I'm not suggesting here today that we do everything I did in the State legislature, because some things went very far, but what I am challenging America to do is to challenge the NRA, the liberals, the gun control lobby, whatever you want to call them. We should all come together in the name of the citizens of the United States that we've lost and have an adult conversation about can we do better, because we can.

We don't need clips that allow people to take out a whole neighborhood. We don't need guns that you can shoot through police vests and through the police car door and through their shield and hit their body sold in our sporting good stores in this country.

At some point, we have to come together. We can't just come together and pray and mourn. People are tired of mourning, and people are not fed up, but people have given up on prayer. When you see incidents when you have to bury your children--when you drop a child off at school you expect to go there that afternoon and pick them up and talk about what they learned today and do they need help with their homework, you never imagine that you're going to go there and find your child deceased with multiple gunshot wounds because of assault rifles with high-capacity clips.

We are the United States of America, always in search of a more perfect Union. We can do better, we have to do better.

I will close with my own little paraphrase from a song, and it's to the Members of Congress. We had an incident that shed light on this earlier in our term in which our colleague was a victim of gun violence.

We should be careful of what we do, because the life we save may be our own.


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