Durbin To McConnell: Do Something On Gun Violence

Durbin Joins Democratic Senators In Delivering Floor Speeches On Impact Of Gun Violence

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined dozens of Democratic U.S. Senators in floor speeches tonight to talk about the impact of gun violence and the many actions legislators could take to respond.  Following the mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton, and Odessa – and the daily toll of gun violence in Chicago – Durbin called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to do his job and hold votes on legislation that would help reduce the gun violence epidemic. More than 200 days ago, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R.8) passed the House on a bipartisan basis.  Approximately 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks, including the vast majority of gun owners and NRA members.

“This is unacceptable. America is better than this. There are many people in this great nation who are doing all they can to try to reduce the epidemic of shootings – parents, community leaders, teachers, faith leaders, law enforcement, the medical community, and public officials. But what are we doing in the United States Senate? The answer is nothing. Nothing,” Durbin said.

Durbin also voiced support for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s invitation to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to visit Chicago amidst his criticism of gun violence in the city.

“Chicago's mayor, my friend, Lori Lightfoot, pointed out the obvious to the junior Senator from Texas. Sixty percent of illegal firearms recovered in Chicago come from out of state. That's why we need a federal background check reform bill like the one that passed the House,” Durbin said. “She graciously invited Senator Cruz, our colleague, to actually come visit Chicago to see it's not an island.  It's connected to other states, and to see what the city is doing, trying to work to reduce the scourge of gun violence… I hope that the Senator from Texas accepts the invitation.”

Durbin also called on Leader McConnell to take up legislation to combat the growing threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence.  Durbin has introduced the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, a bill that would enhance the federal government’s efforts to prevent domestic terrorism by establishing offices to combat domestic terrorism at the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security and requiring the agencies to regularly assess this threat, focus their resources on the most significant domestic terrorism threats, and provide training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement in addressing these threats.

“It's clear that violent white supremacists are the most significant domestic terrorist threat facing America today. What have we done to address this? Nothing. Just like H.R. 8, just like the gun safety legislation, which we should be considering, Senator McConnell refuses to bring anything before the Senate,” Durbin said.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are 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.