Pelosi Remarks at Press Event Urging Congress to Pass Background Checks Legislation

Jul 8, 2015
Press Release

Contact: Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at a press event with Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC), House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chair Mike Thompson (D-CA), the Brady Campaign, community leaders and families from Charleston, South Carolina to urge Congress to pass background checks legislation.  Below is a transcript of the Leader’s remarks:

“Thank you very much, Dan Gross, for your tremendous leadership.  Peter Read, Loni Henry Corner, Jenna Yuille, Sherialyn Byrdsong, Andre Duncan, thank you for sharing your stories with us.  Thank you for your leadership in turning your grief into action to make a difference to save lives.  It is an honor.  And, with great humility, I say thank you for being with us today, as well as all of the other families who are here.  Thank you so much.


“I wanted to say to Dan first, thank you for sharing your story – and the leadership that he has provided.  But Dan Gross, combined with the Brady Campaign – that’s a magical formula.  How saddened we were with the passing of Sarah Brady this April, and how proud we are to see Sarah and Jim Brady’s legacy of courage, advocacy and action carried forward under your leadership at the Brady Campaign.  I almost smile when Dan says that it didn’t pass easily – just thinking all those days, all of that.  And the Bradys just kept picking up the flag and leading the charge again and again. 

“And so here we are once again.  And it’s with great sadness and gratitude that I join our colleague, Assistant Leader Jim Clyburn.  He was such a source of inspiration to all of us with his sadness and leadership in Charleston.  Thank you so much for your leadership, Jim Clyburn.

“Once again, we come together with survivors, family members, faith and community members to call for an end to the senseless epidemic of gun violence in our country.  Once again, our nation has suffered a staggering tragedy at the hands of someone with outsized hate and easy access to a firearm.  To the families of the victims, please know that we will never stop mourning your loss and never stop fighting to finish the job.  It is not only for the victims of Charleston, but for all of the victims.  We mourn your loss every day.  We are here to say: ‘We are Charleston,’ and for all that stands for.  But what we need is for this entire Congress to say: ‘We are Charleston.’  But we cannot allow people to say it unless it is accompanied with ‘We are Charleston and we will give you a vote on the Brady Background Checks bill.’ 


“Sympathy is lovely and gracious.  Compassion is warm and friendly and appreciated, but it is no substitute for results, and results are what we need to have. 

“Last month, as we know, we witnessed an act of brazen racial terrorism in Charleston – nine lives taken by a gun.  We know that, across the country, 30 lives are cut short by gun violence every day.  The numbers that Dan Gross put forth are staggering.  Last week, in San Francisco, our city suffered our own senseless act of gun violence with the killing of Kathryn Steinle, and our thoughts and prayers are very much with her family.  Today, we must do more as a nation to prevent dangerous people from getting easy access to guns.  And Congress has a moral responsibility to act.  What is so unclear?  What do they not understand about that? 

“The memory of these victims, the cries of their families deserve action – results, not words.  Today, we will say: we will not accept a status quo defined by the daily tragedy and grief endured by so many communities.  We will not accept ‘the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation,’ as the President so eloquently stated in Charleston.  The American people deserve a vote to finish the job, starting with comprehensive background checks. 

“We’ve had this conversation over and over again.  We’ve always said: to us, in Dan’s spirit, it is inevitable that this legislation will pass.  To some here, it may seem inconceivable that they will bring a vote to the floor.  With 90 percent of the public supporting gun background checks, we must shorten the distance between the inevitable to us and the inconceivable to them, to finish the job.

“A person who is in the lead on that in the Congress is Congressman Mike Thompson.  He has been a tireless leader in our fight to reduce the tragedy of gun violence in America.  Congressman Thompson is the Chair of House Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and the author of vital, bipartisan legislation to expand the Brady background checks – as Dan mentioned, Peter King from New York and Congressman Thompson are co-authors of the legislation.  I want to thank Congressman Thompson for keeping the heat on Congress, to deliver results – not just sympathies to gun violence victims and their families, but results to make America safer.  Thank you, Congressman Mike Thompson.”

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