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Congressman Sires’ Statement on Mass Shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH

Aug 5, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) released the following statement regarding the tragic events in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH this weekend:

“Our nation is reeling from two devastating attacks this weekend. In El Paso, a man driven by hatred, fueled by racist and dehumanizing language that has permeated our society, brought violence to a community that rightly celebrates its diversity.  In Dayton, a man had the capability to kill 9 and injure so many more in 30 seconds because our government has not been able to reinstate a ban on weapons that are designed to kill as many as possible in a short time frame.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have pushed for stronger gun reform measures and frequently hear opponents of such measures reiterate the same excuse for inaction - those who are intent on committing violence will find a way, even if we strengthen gun laws. This mindset has, and will continue to, cost thousands of people their lives and does not legitimize the argument against pursuing comprehensive common-sense legislation.  The President, Senator McConnell, and a large faction of Congress continue to neglect their sworn duty to act in the interest of their constituents, which includes protecting them from mass violence.

Today, the President said that hate has no place in America, and yet his rhetoric fuels it every single day when he tells my colleagues to go back to where they came from, calls white nationalists very fine people, and dehumanizes entire communities simply because of where they are from or the color of their skin. The President called for increased mental health funding, and yet his administration is actively working to repeal the Affordable Care Act and has repeatedly tried to decrease funding for mental health programs. The President tweeted that legislation on background checks should be considered, and yet he has made such calls before, only to revoke his support.

I do not believe what the President said today because everything he has done before shows that he is not serious about ending hate, funding mental health programs, or closing background check loopholes.  If he was, he would be supporting the numerous pieces of legislation that the House of Representatives has passed and sent to the Senate, where they languish in a purgatory created by Senator McConnell. Senator McConnell won’t even allow the Senate to vote on a widely popular bipartisan background check bill that would close loopholes in our current law to ensure that there is no legal way for a dangerous individual to skip a background check if they try to purchase a weapon. He could save countless lives if he took real action and held a vote on this bill and other common-sense legislation.

We are the only nation that allows mass shootings to happen and that is unconscionable.”