Durbin Marks Tenth Anniversary of Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting
Durbin calls on Congress to do more to reduce the daily toll of shootings in our homes & neighborhoods, including banning military-style assault weapons from civilian use
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered remarks on the Senate Floor on the tenth anniversary of the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Durbin spoke about the important progress that was made this year with passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years, but also noted that more needs to be done, including banning military-style assault weapons from civilian use.
“It was ten years ago today. When I first heard the news, I couldn’t believe it… What I’m referring to of course was Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was ten years ago today, 20 beautiful little children and six teachers and staff murdered in the classroom at this grade school,” Durbin said.
“This has been an important year for gun safety in this Congress. After the racism-fueled mass murders in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, after the slaughter of 19 little children and two teachers in their elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Congress passed the most significant gun safety law in 30 years, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. And the Senate did something that hadn’t been done for seven years—we actually confirmed a Director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That’s a position the gun lobby had fought to keep open and unfilled for seven years. We have a man on the job now,” Durbin said. “So we made some progress, but we have a lot more to do.”
Durbin continued, “Gun violence is now the leading cause of death of American children. Think about that for a second. The leading cause of death. Every year, more than 3,000 children and teens die by firearms—3,000 a year. Another 15,000 are wounded. And more than three million American children are exposed to gun violence every year. For many of these kids, the trauma of seeing friends, parents, siblings, classmates shot may result in lifelong damage to their physical, mental, and emotional health. That’s what trauma does to the survivors.”
During his speech, Durbin also discussed how gun manufacturers and sellers have launched aggressive marketing campaigns for their deadly products—particularly to children. He also spoke about the Highland Park 4th of July parade massacre, which left seven dead and injured dozens more. That gunman used a Smith & Wesson AR-15 military-style rifle and fired off 83 rounds in less than 60 seconds.
“Many gun manufacturers and sellers have launched aggressive marketing campaigns for their deadly guns,” Durbin said. “AR-15’s and AR-style weapons have become the weapon of choice for mass shootings. This is an ad for a JR-15, a junior model of the AR-15—20 percent smaller and lighter. It’s designed for children, children under the age of 18. Look at the logos in this ad… They are also on the weapon. This gun manufacturer uses cartoon skulls sucking on pacifiers to try to hook children on using military-style assault weapons. If I made that statement without this ad, you’d say Durbin is making up a lie, that can’t be true. They really want to sell these guns to be used by little kids? And they have them festooned with these images that children will find interesting?”
Durbin continued, “On July 4, this year, a 21-year-old with a Smith & Wesson AR-15 military-style rifle went up on a rooftop during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois… Up on top of the roof, he pulled out his AR-15, he fired off 83 rounds in less than a minute… That gunman killed seven people and injured dozens more… He left a little 2-year-old boy, Aiden McCarthy, an orphan. He killed his mother and his father. He paralyzed an 8-year-old boy with a bullet that severed his spine… Not every shooting is committed with an assault weapon, but if a gunman wants to cause mass harm, assault weapons are the weapon of choice… I support banning these military-style assault weapons from civilian use. We banned them before and I voted for that—it saved lives. It is time to ban them again. Military-style assault weapons belong in the hands of the military, not in the hands of an 18 or 19-year-old on a roof in Highland Park firing off 83 rounds in less than 60 seconds.”
Durbin concluded, “As we mark the grim anniversary of that devastating day ten years ago in Newtown, Connecticut, we have to recommit ourselves to do more—more to protect our kids, more to prevent mass shootings, more to reduce the daily toll of shootings in our homes and neighborhoods. Our work is not done, families across America are counting on us. Let’s do something. Let’s stop this carnage in America.”
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.
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