U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spoke on the floor on the need to end gun violence and better protect our children following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Senator Boxer’s written statement (upon which she based her remarks):
I rise today to discuss the tragedy that I know has touched the heart and soul of America.
I will be very straight-forward in discussing my feelings today – feelings of a mother, feelings of a grandmother, feelings of a Senator whose state has been touched far too many times by mass shootings.
On July 1, 1993, a gunman with an assault weapon walked into a law office in San Francisco and killed 8 people and wounding another six. One of those people was a brave lawyer who threw his body over his wife, sacrificing his own life to save hers.
That young man was one of my son’s best friends and so I know without a shadow of a doubt how these horrific and senseless tragedies live on with the survivors forever – the parents, the spouses, the children, the families and friends. It changes their lives and pierces their psyches forever.
Yes, as human beings after these tragedies, we come together to find meaning and justice – and to find love in the middle of mayhem. Some find solace in their faith and their God. Some find solace in their community. And some find no solace at all.
The slaughter of innocents must stop.
I have spoken to many of my constituents. They are coming up to me and are begging me to act. Some own guns, some don’t. They want us to act and we must.
My heart is broken. Little babies gone – babies – barely on this earth. Loved, nurtured, taught, trusting. Trusting us. Looking up to us. They trusted us and we failed them.
We couldn’t even stop a sick person from getting a high-capacity clip. The gunman didn’t even have to reload his weapon until he fired 30 shots.
Brave law enforcement responded. But we had no law enforcement there to maybe – just maybe – prevent it before it started. And there was apparently no appointment that day with a mental health professional. Instead there was an appointment with death.
We must act and whoever criticizes me for saying that now, I say this: When is the right time?
In 2009, 31,347 people died from gun violence in our nation. That’s 87 people for every day of the year. Another 73,505 people were injured by firearms. So 87 people a day killed by gun violence in this country and this is not a good time speak out, I guess.
But I will talk about it now.
Here is what I think we must tackle – and we can do it without violating gun rights:
First, we must take weapons of war and high-capacity clips off our streets.
Second, we must ensure that local law enforcement is involved in reviewing conceal and carry permits.
Third, we must close the gun show loophole so background checks are conducted.
Fourth, we must keep all guns out of the hands of the mentally ill – and get them the help they need
And finally, we must keep our schools safe by utilizing all of the law enforcement tools at our disposal.
We have failed our children.
Since the Columbine school shooting in 1999, 203 students and teachers have been killed and 175 students, teachers and others have been wounded due to gun violence at our schools.
We have to stop worrying about our political skins. There is more to life than that. There are judgments that will be made about us while we are here and after we are gone.
Let us pull together and show our children we love them and we will protect them by taking clear and common sense steps together.