Durbin: Coming Together To Pass Common Sense Gun Legislation Will Make Our Nation Safer

On the Senate floor, Durbin calls on his colleagues to support bipartisan gun safety and mental health legislation

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today highlighted his support for the legislation introduced yesterday by a bipartisan group of Senators that will help protect our children and communities from gun violence.

“Let’s be clear: this bill is a compromise,” Durbin said.  “In a 50-50 Senate, you expect nothing less… But the reforms and investments made in this bill represent an important step toward making our nation safer. It won't end gun violence, but it will help reduce the number of shootings and killings—which number about 100 Americans each day—and end, perhaps, guns as the leading cause of death among our children.”

Durbin went on to outline two sections of the bill which include provisions Durbin has long advocated for: combatting straw purchases, which involves purchasing a gun for another individual who couldn't legally purchase a gun themselves; and mental health resources to address the cycle of trauma and violence.

“It happened last year in Chicago,” Durbin said.  “There was a straw purchase of a gun… to a felon who turned around and used it to kill a Chicago policewoman named Ella French… that just shows you that these straw purchase guns are being used by people against police and innocent people on a regular basis… [Straw purchasing] should be treated as a serious violent crime. This bill does that.”

In discussing the funding for counseling and mental health resources included in this legislation, Durbin concluded, “Trauma is more than physical trauma… These people need help, and [if] we can reach them at an early age in schools, we might be able to turn their lives around. If we don't try, unfortunately the violence will only continue in our streets… This community safety bill that we are considering provides resources to school districts to counsel young people.” 

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.