Following Buffalo Shooting, Durbin Announces Upcoming Judiciary Committee Hearing On Domestic Terrorism

In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin calls on the Senate to pass common sense gun safety measures and his Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act; condemns Tucker Carlson for his white supremacist rhetoric

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered a speech on the Senate floor decrying another weekend of mass gun violence across the country, including a racially-motivated attack at a Buffalo, New York supermarket that killed ten, and shootings that claimed the lives of parishioners at a California church, shoppers at a Houston flea market, and five people in Chicago, including 16-year-old Seandell Holliday who was killed in Millennium Park. In his remarks, Durbin called out the white supremacist rhetoric used by Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory that has fueled hateful acts of racist violence.

As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Durbin also announced the Committee will soon hold a hearing on domestic terrorism. Durbin has long worked to address the threat of white supremacist violence and improve the federal government’s efforts to combat domestic terrorism. He is the lead author of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which would enhance the federal government’s efforts to prevent domestic terrorism by establishing offices dedicated to combating this threat; requiring federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess this threat; and providing training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement in addressing it.

“Both of these mass shootings [in California and Houston] happened less than 24 hours after a white supremacist massacred innocent shoppers at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York,” said Durbin. “The shooter wore tactical gear and carried an AR-15 assault rifle—a weapon designed to kill people. He shot 13 people, 11 of whom were Black, in an act of racist violence. Ten of the victims died. Each of those ten people left home Saturday—maybe to grab dinner, or buy groceries for the week. And they never returned. Now, their families are grappling with unimaginable loss. In an instant, they lost a grandparent, a child, a spouse. To those families, I say: America grieves with you.”

Durbin went on to honor one of the victims, Aaron Salter, a retired police officer who leapt into action to save the lives of shoppers and employees. Salter was working as a security guard at the grocery store. As we mourn Officer Salter’s loss this week, our nation’s capital is welcoming members of law enforcement from across the country for Police Week.

Durbin continued, “To every officer who protects our communities, like Officer Salter did so valiantly: thank you for your service. No officer should ever find themselves in a situation where they are outgunned by an assailant. But that is exactly what happened in Buffalo this weekend—and far too many times in cities like Chicago.”

Durbin called on the Senate to come together to close the loopholes in our gun laws, reduce gun violence, and recognize the role that white supremacy has played in fueling violent terrorist attacks. Durbin also condemned the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, which has been spewed by Tucker Carlson and was cited by the gunman who attacked the grocery store in Buffalo. According to the New York Times, more than 400 episodes of Tucker Carlson’s news program on Fox—which has attracted more viewers than any other show in the history of cable news—have alluded to this hateful conspiracy theory. Durbin also called out the Republican Party for refusing to condemn white supremacist violence.

“Tucker Carlson is a leading ideologue in the white supremacist movement,” Durbin continued. “He’s even introduced racist terminology into our national discourse—like the phrase ‘Legacy Americans,’ which refers to the idea that immigrants aren’t real Americans…But here’s what’s most shocking to me: the number of elected officials who will jump at any chance to get featured on Tucker Carlson’s show, and who echo his white supremacist blather.”

Durbin concluded, “By passing it [Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act], along with common sense gun safety measures, we can deal with the scourge of violence.”

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.