Pelosi Floor Remarks In Support of the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ Legislation

Jun 16, 2016
Press Release

Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616

Washington D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today on the House floor in support of the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ legislation.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentleman from Mississippi for yielding, and I thank him for his tremendous leadership to keep our homeland secure.  I come to the Floor, of course, in the deepest, with the deepest sympathy for those lost in Orlando and, of course, all of our prayers and thoughts are with them, with their families.

“Earlier this week, we had a moment of silence.  Another moment of silence.  Silence which was followed by silence, silence, silence – no action.  Today, on this Floor, we're taking up legislation which is the legislative equivalent of silence.  We're putting some ‘warmed-over soup’ bills that have passed the House combined in one bill, once again, to go forward.  But we are not taking the action necessary, action that has bipartisan support overwhelmingly; in the country and has sufficient support in this House to be passed.  I beseech our Republican colleagues, I beseech our Republican colleagues to join us in the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ legislation, which 87 percent of the public, overwhelmingly Republicans, Independents, even NRA members support.  It has support in our country.  It has understanding in our country.  The only place – the only place that it runs into trouble is in the House of Representatives. 

“The Senate has said now that they will promise a vote after a substantial and most remarkable filibuster on the part of Senator Chris Murphy all day yesterday and into the night.  The American people saw what the challenge was about: getting something done in Congress.  And he was promised a vote.  I hope that we can have a vote in the House on two bills that are overwhelmingly supported by the public and have bipartisan support in the House.  Of course, the one – the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ that means if you are on the No-Fly list, you cannot buy a gun. 

“In addition to that, we have the bill that has, by consensus, been put together for sensible, reasonable background checks – that means: no matter what the weapon is, unless you can pass a background check, you can't buy it, whether it's a pistol or AK-47.  Shamefully, the assault weapon ban has expired.  There are those in our midst who would like to remove the sunset from that bill, and that's another conversation.  Right now today, we're asking for two things.  One, ‘No Fly, No Buy’.  Two, that the King – Peter King of New York, Mike Thompson of California, Republican and Democratic co-sponsored bills, which would pass this House if given a vote.

“I’ve seen some criticism, on the part of the Republican leadership in the House, of those who have tired of doing moments of silence.  I, myself, think that it's appropriate for us to do that, but it's no substitute.  It is no substitute for action.  And we have to question the sincerity of it if we mourn and don't act.

“We carry the names of these young people who were killed in Orlando in our hearts.  It's clearly a hate crime.  It is the one place where we see very clearly where gun safety and homeland security come together.  Whatever the percentage of motivation was – terrorism and the other, hate crime on the part of the perpetrator – doesn't matter.  What matters is it was an assault on our homeland security, and what matters is that it was a hate crime motivated in this pub where many LGBT community members were gathered.  So you know, let's kind of lower the temperature on our interactions with each other.  We've said over and over again: here we go with another moment of silence.  If we were real about it, if we were sincere about it, we would act upon it.  Clearly we’re all complicit as long as we have moments of silence and no legislation. 

“We are not a commemorative body.  I mean, yes, we have our resolutions and we have our moments of silence.  But, we're a legislative body, and we're supposed to provide solutions.  We're supposed to work together as much as possible in a bipartisan way for those solutions.  We're supposed to be a reflection and representative of the American people.  The American people are so far ahead of us in terms of common sense.  Common sense legislation, you are on the No-Fly list, you can’t buy a gun – no fly, no buy.  And common sense saying that we want to have reasonable, common sense background checks that has bipartisan support in the House.  I say it over and over again.

“We have said: we are Paris.  We are Orlando.  But what are we?  We are doing nothing.  It would be the equivalent of somebody who is very sick and the doctor says, ‘I'm going to give you a ‘get well’ card, but I'm not going to give you any antidote to the pain, to the problem that you have.’  And this is what we have become: words, not deeds; words, not action.

“The Gospel of James – I don't know if Mr. Clyburn, when he spoke earlier, spoke about James – the book of James.  ‘Act deeds, not words.’  And we're not even words.  We're silent.  We're silent.

“So I beseech my colleagues to listen to the American people, to understand the pain.  And this happens so frequently.  Since Orlando, 100 people have been shot in gun violence across our country – that was as of yesterday, maybe more by this morning.  And so, it's not just about the mass murders, as appalling as they are and how strongly they hit home, it's about what's happening on the streets of our country on a regular basis.  As I said and I say this: I cannot see how with all the good intentions of silence and the rest of it that this Congress can be a handmaiden of the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America.  We're here to represent the people, and we should be doing that.

“Again, this is heartbreaking.  Newtown was heartbreaking.  Columbine was heartbreaking.  The reference our colleague made earlier to assault on our military facilities – heartbreaking.  Assault on the Planned Parenthood clinic is heartbreaking.  It’s not right.  This isn't how we debate, discuss, disagree, come to solutions, not with guns.  We all respect the Second Amendment.  We all respect the Second Amendment: the right to bear arms.  But, that doesn't mean in an unfettered way by people who have no business having them because of their orientation.  Let's have background checks to check that, and if we know so much more.

“Now we can work together on the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ in terms of how people are informed, how law enforcement is informed across the board.  But we cannot go down a path that has been suggested by some that says, ‘Okay, let’s do that.  Now take it to court.’  But by the time you take it to court, more people will die just as Mr. Clyburn, as you are observing the June 17th, one-year anniversary of the South Carolina massacre.  If you're not denied in three days, then you're cleared – when they had a technical error that cleared somebody who should not have been cleared.

“So let's make it right, but let's do something.  Let's act upon the values that we share to protect and defend the American people.  That's our first responsibility, in terms of national security, in terms of homeland security, in terms of community and personal security.  And let's not use these bills that we're taking up, once again, as an excuse, as if we did something.  No, we didn't do anything more.  We're just trying to make it look as if we did.  And that's really incriminating on the Congress of the United States when we know what to do.  We have bipartisan support to do it.  So, I beseech our colleagues to join together in a non-partisan way, to do the right thing, exercise common sense on behalf of the American people. 

“And again, we are Orlando.  I yield back.”

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