Nancy Pelosi: ‘Protecting Our Kids–What Could Be More Important Than That?’

( – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) gave a speech on the House floor on Wednesday in support of the Protecting Our Kids Act—a gun control bill—and said that nothing is more important that protecting children.

“Protecting our kids: what could be more important than that?” Pelosi said.

“Today, we were called to action by our colleague, Lucy McBath, who told us that, today, we must make history.  To protect the children,” said Pelosi. “And we are going to make history by making progress.”

“Every night on our streets, Americans are being killed in gun crimes,” said Pelosi. “And every day, our nation loses Americans to suicides and accidents. This is a tragic daily massacre which rarely makes the headlines or evening news–but it is there. 

“So here we are for the children,” she said.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Thank you, Madam Speaker. 

“I thank the gentleman for yielding and commend him for his leadership in bringing this important legislation to the Floor. Protecting our kids: what could be more important than that?  And I thank you for channeling the ideas and enthusiasms of so many Members on both sides of the aisle to bring this bipartisan legislation to the Floor. 

“Thank you, thank you, Mr. Nadler, for your leadership.  I thank the Task Force, led Mr. Mike Thompson of California – for his important work advancing the background check bipartisan legislation, as well as Mr. Clyburn for his legislation that’s already over on the Senate side. 

“But today – today, we are doing more.  Today, we were called to action by our colleague, Lucy McBath, who told us that, today, we must make history.  To protect the children.  And we are going to make history by making progress. 

So I thank all of our Members, so many Members who have been so important to this legislation.  I want to thank you on behalf of the courageous survivors of gun violence who have spoken out, out of respect for those who lost their lives, and with appreciation for the gravity of this issue that we come and be at this Floor. 

“Madam Speaker, as the families in Buffalo to Uvalde bury their lost ones, even more communities have been hit by gun violence.  Just last weekend, Americans watched in horror as at least thirteen mass shootings unfolded across the country, from Philadelphia to Chattanooga to Phoenix to Grand Rapids.  And as the data shows, the challenge of gun violence goes further than these mass killings.  Every night on our streets, Americans are being killed in gun crimes.  And every day, our nation loses Americans to suicides and accidents.  This is a tragic daily massacre which rarely makes the headlines or evening news – but it is there. 

“So here we are For The Children.  When those who were advocating gun violence – or, perpetrating it went into the classrooms, they crossed a line.  It was terrible, the gun violence we have in our country.  But that they would go into Newtown and shoot little children who were barely out of diapers, and again now in Texas, these beautiful children in elementary school and everything that happened in between, it was an assault on the culture of our country that our children would not be able to go to school without fear or concern about their safety.

“Our children areas President Kennedy said–our greatest resource and best hope for the future. They are our precious treasure, and everything we do is For The Children. And For The Children, we must stop this gun violence in our country and restore their confidence and their safety wherever they may be.

S”o we are on a crusade For The Childrenand sadly, now by the children. Children testifying in Committee, children coming to our events.  I had, last week, a fifth grader coming to our event—Wear Orange rally that we had in California, where she said she lost both her mother and her father in separate gun violence incidences.  Fifth grade.  Speaking at the podium so courageously.  Children turning their grief, their experience now, not just – which would be enough to end the violence of losing a loved one, but to witness it and be a victim of it in the classroom.

“A crusade For The Children, by the children and of the children, in terms of our motivation to stop this for our precious children.  Indeed, America has lost more children from gun violence than any other cause.  Does that embarrass you?  To think that, in our country, more children have died from gun violence than any other cause?  These stories are tragically all too common in America today.  Countless more than those who died were forever changed by the horrors of gun violence they saw firsthand or that they experienced in their families.

“It’s sickening that our children are forced to live in this constant fear.  And make no mistake, these gunmen who choose to shoot innocent children are desecrating, again, our culture, a culture where all of us, all of our kids must and should feel safe — whether at school, church, the movies or any other place.  Protecting our children can and must be a unifying mission for our nation, because they are, as I said, our national treasure.

“That is why, under the unyielding leadership of our Chairman, Mr. Nadler, the House will pass protecting–the Protecting Our [Kids] Act today.  This bold package includes commonsense measures that will make an enormous difference to save lives.  

“Who wouldn’t vote to raise the age from 18 to 21 for a person to have a weapon of war?

“Who wouldn’t vote to raise the age to take weapons of war out of the hands of teenagers?

“Who wouldn’t vote to get illegal guns off our streets by cracking down gun trafficking, which is a danger to people but also to law enforcement?

“Who wouldn’t vote for background checks on ghost gun purchases, which our law enforcement tells us is a major concern out there?

“Who wouldn’t vote to protect children from stolen weapons or accidental shootings with safe storage requirements?  Safe storage requirements. 

“Who wouldn’t vote to ban bump stocks – that was President Trump’s executive order – bump stocks from civilian use or outlawing high-capacity magazines – designed for massacres, not for killing varmints?

“These measures will not only help stem the tide of mass murder but address the equally urgent and wide range of daily gun deaths.  Let us salute the many Members who have worked persistently to craft this strong legislation, written to earn bipartisan support that the American people expect and deserve.

“Today’s package is just one step in the House’s relentless fight to stop the bloodshed.  Our Democratic Majority, as I mentioned earlier, has twice passed the Bipartisan Background Checks [Act] and Enhanced Background Checks Act, which together would put our nation on a path toward universal background checks.  Tomorrow, thanks again to Congresswoman McBath and Congressman Carbajal, we’ll pass the Federal [Extreme] Protection Order Act, otherwise known as the ‘Red Flag’ act.  This will help keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or to others.

“Soon, we will vote for Mr. Cicilline’s Active Shooter Alert Act to create an AMBER Alert style notification during a mass shooting, a measure widely supported by law enforcement.  And the House will continue to consider additional actions we can take that have a proven record of saving lives.  

“When I talk about these different things, people say: ‘Well, what difference does that –’ well, the cumulative effect is a big one.

“We know that there are negotiations going on in the Senate, and we are prayerful.  We are prayerful about those.  And hopefully, we can make some advancement, because for all of us who have met again and again and again with the survivors of gun violence – some coming time and again to check up on what’s happening, others new, new to that horrible club that none of us wants to be a member of.  They just want something to happen.

“Years ago, when I met with – right away with the survivors of Pulse, I said: ‘What can we do to make you feel – to alleviate, to be a comfort to you?’

“And they said, ‘Just make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else.’  That’s what they said.  They didn’t say, ‘I need this, I need that.’  They said, ‘Just make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else.’

“Right now, in the eyes of survivors and, indeed, all Americans — their eyes are on us in the Congress to see whether we have the courage, the commitment and the conviction, to protect the children.  For some of Congress, a moment of silence–it’s good enough for them.  A moment of silence.  As Mr. Higgins said when he talked about Buffalo, he said: ‘A moment of silence now, but action after.’ And now we are taking that action.

“So many of our colleagues – so many of our colleagues have talked about incidents in their district: personal experiences shared by people who have been victims of gun violence.  Mr. Espaillat talked about what happened in his district – again, so many of you have come with the horror of it all.  And every time it happens, it’s as if it’s happened for the first time because the horror is so fresh.  But it’s not the first time for the victims who have to relive so much of the experience.  

“So to those who – when a moment of silence is ‘good enough’ because you don’t have the courage to take a vote to protect the children, I would say: your political survival is totally insignificant to the survival of our – compared to the survival of our children.

“I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together with a strong ‘aye’ vote on all the provisions in the bill for the final package — and to do so as part of a crusade of, by and For The Children.

“I urge an ‘aye’ vote on the Protecting Our Kids legislation and yield back the balance of my time.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.”


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