Durbin Marks 5th Anniversary Of Parkland Mass Shooting & 15th Anniversary Of NIU Mass Shooting On Senate Floor

Durbin: “No other nation on Earth accepts this wholesale slaughter that we have now become so inured to in the United States. We shouldn’t be. Americans have seen too much carnage from guns. I’m sick of it. This nation is sick of it.”

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, marked the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and another 17 wounded, and the fifteenth anniversary of the mass shooting at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, that left five students dead and more than 20 injured.  Durbin also spoke about the mass shooting that took place at Michigan State University last night, killing three students and leaving five additional victims wounded.

“Today is Valentine’s Day, a day we set aside to celebrate love, but far too many American families these days have haunting memories and unfathomable pain.  They are the families of Americans killed by gun violence,” said Durbin.  “Last night, the families of three Michigan State University students joined the heartbroken ranks.  Five additional victims were wounded.  It was the 67thmass shooting in the United States of America in this calendar year.  February 14, the 67th mass shooting—more than one mass shooting every day this year.”

Durbin continued, “Five years ago today, a 19-year-old gunman murdered 17 people and wounded 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  The fifth anniversary of that, and we are observing the madness and slaughter that took place in Michigan.  The Parkland gunman fired indiscriminately at students and teachers, and used a Smith & Wesson AR-15 assault rifle.  The dead included 14 students and three staff members who died trying to protect them.  The Parkland shooting horrified our nation.  It cut especially deep at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, 65 miles outside of Chicago.  Exactly ten years earlier, on Valentine’s Day 2008, a gunman armed with a shotgun and three semiautomatic pistols kicked open the door of an auditorium-style classroom at Northern Illinois, walked up and down the aisles shooting people indiscriminately.  The shooting lasted just under six minutes.  When it ended, five students had died, and more than 20 injured.”

Durbin continued his speech by praising passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act last year, the most sweeping gun safety law enacted in nearly 30 years.  Among its provisions, it toughened background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21, cracked down on the trafficking and straw purchasing of firearms, and included funding to help states implement “red flag” laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a danger to themselves or others.  But Durbin noted that the majority of Americans support stronger gun safety laws and that Congress must do more. 

“Last year, Congress passed and President Biden signed the most sweeping gun safety law in 30 years, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” Durbin said.  “But the majority of Americans support even stronger gun safety laws, including closing the gaps in the background check system for gun purchases.  I believe that Congress should also restore the ban on assault weapons, including AR-15 style rifles, increasingly the weapon of choice for mass shooters.  These military-style weapons have no place in schools, neighborhoods, or college campuses.”

Durbin concluded, “Today, on this grim anniversary, we must recommit ourselves to a better America.  To do more to protect our kids, our schools, our communities, and our country from the scourge of gun violence.” 

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.