Cicilline: Failing to Act on Assault Weapons is a Dereliction of Duty

Cicilline: Failing to Act on Assault Weapons is a Dereliction of Duty


Wed, 07/20/2022 - 15:03

WASHINGTON, DC – At today’s House Committee on the Judiciary markup of H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), author of the legislation, implored his colleagues to support the legislation, arguing that “[f]ailing to act, and allowing these weapons of war to proliferate in our communities, in my view, is a dereliction of [our] duty.”

A full transcript of the Congressman’s remarks is below.
Four years ago, a gunman armed with an AR-15-style assault weapon massacred 17 kids and wounded 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In 3 minutes and 45 seconds, he fired 150 bullets. When he fled, he left 180 rounds of ammunition unused.
Here is what these numbers sound like.
[audio played: recordings from inside of the 1200 building of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, taken on February 14, 2018]
That audio was 1 minute and 18 seconds long. The gunman terrorized the students in that school for 3 minutes and 45 seconds.
These shootings have become so frequent, they often barely make headlines.
Thoughts and prayers are well and good. But when they are followed with inaction time and time and time again, they are hollow.
These thoughts and prayers ring empty in the ears of survivors – many watching from home or in this very room today, missing a loved one or remembering the nightmare they lived through.
And all these thoughts and prayers are too late for the dead.
So today, I’m imploring my colleagues to take action to get these weapons of war – weapons designed for the maximum destruction of human life – off our streets.
Let me be clear: we all respect the Second Amendment.
But it’s not without limits.
Imagine how much we could get accomplished, if we clung to the desire to protect our children and communities as tightly as some of my colleagues cling to their rifles.
There are more guns than people in this country – more mass shootings than days in the year.
This is a uniquely American problem.
And assault weapons only magnify the epidemic.
When an assault weapon is used during a mass shooting, six times as many people are shot.
And these bullets don’t just pierce; they explode inside the victim’s body and decimate them.
For God’s sake, parents in Uvalde had to identify their children via DNA sample because the bullets ripped their children apart.
And we know something that will reduce this carnage – because we saw the Assault Weapons Ban work from 1994 – 2004.
Compared with the decade before its adoption, the federal Assault [Weapons] Ban was associated with a 25 percent drop in gun massacres and a 40 percent drop in fatalities.
And as soon as the ban expired, fatalities and shootings skyrocketed again.
In fact, researchers estimate that if we still had a federal Assault Weapons Ban, we would see 70 percent fewer mass shooting deaths.
If the ban had remained in effect, 70 percent of the families torn apart by these massacres would still have their loved ones today.
Maybe if we hadn’t let this law lapse, the parents at Parkland – or Sandy Hook or Uvalde or in too many other places to name – wouldn’t have to bury their children.
For God’s sake, these weapons were designed for the military to use in war zones – for soldiers in jungles and on battlefields when taking on enemy fire.
And we allow them to be purchased by anyone, at any time, and we allow violent killers use them in our malls and movie theaters and hospitals and schools to cause unspeakable destruction – places where we send our children.
This is insanity.
These are weapons of war. They don’t just kill, they decimate.
And every member of this Committee takes an oath at the start of each Congress, to support and defend the Constitution – whose first words state our duty to “insure domestic Tranquility” and to “promote the general Welfare.”
Failing to act, and allowing these weapons of war to proliferate in our communities, in my view, is a dereliction of that duty.
So, let’s come together to save lives and pass this bill and ban military-style assault weapons from communities all across this country.
And with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.


Congress Number
July 20, 2022
July 20, 2022


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