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Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Larson) for 5 minutes.

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, yesterday the House of Representatives stood in solidarity and silence as we once again rose to acknowledge another death, another shooting, another loss of life again at one of our schools. We rose out of respect for the victims and their families, as we have done repeatedly.

On average, there has been a shooting in a school a week. The American people are outraged. They no longer want Congress' silence. They want to hear Congress' voice.

In America, the most important thing that we can do is vote; the most patriotic thing that we can do is vote. But in this Chamber, we have yet to take up simple legislation on background checks.

Now, let me be very specific about that.

Pat Toomey, Joe Manchin, two of the most conservative Senators in the United States Congress, put together a very narrowly constructed compromise that called for universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

This is not complicated. It is supported by 92 percent of the American people and 76 percent of the NRA. John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Cathy McMorris Rodgers are honorable people. They know what the right thing to do is. And the right thing here, whatever side you come down on this issue, is to give the people in the people's House a vote.

How many more times are we going to hear the pleas from parents who are crying out for Congress to take action? In a body where many people pride themselves on the right to life, why will we not rise to do everything to protect our schoolchildren?

When I was growing up, we used to have drills because we were fearful of nuclear annihilation by Russia. Today our schools go through routine lockdown drills for fear of our own citizens.

Congress has got to act or Congress, as I have said before on this floor, is duplicitous in every single tragedy that takes place, duplicitous because of its inaction. It is the morally right thing to do to cast a vote.

However you feel on this issue, and there are strong feelings about it, but the American people, and clearly the families of these victims, need to know that minimally their democracy was willing not to stand in silence and in remorse, as important as that was and is, but to take action and vote.

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