Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., released this statement marking the one year anniversary of the House Gun Violence Prevention Sit-In that she organized with Reps. John Lewis (Ga.), Katherine Clark (Mass.), David Cicilline (R.I.) and John Larson (Conn.). Kelly represents Homewood and Flossmoor in Congress.
It comes after Kelly, vice chair of the Democratic Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, wrote to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence asking for their assistance in passing legislation after 38 children under the age of 16 had been killed in Chicago in the previous 12 months. She hasn’t received a response.
“One year ago, I joined four of my colleagues in organizing the historic House Democratic Sit-In to End Gun Violence.
The mission of our sit-in was simple: force Republican leadership, under Speaker Paul Ryan, to allow a vote on two pieces of common sense, life-saving legislation.
Both bills were bipartisan and collectively would ensure a background check on every gun sale in America and make certain that suspected terrorists would be unable to obtain firearms in the U.S. These positions are supported by more than 90 percent of Americans and 70 percent of National Rifle Association (NRA) members.
Instead of allowing the elected representatives of the American people to vote on these common sense ideas to keep communities safe, Speaker Ryan turned off the cameras, shut off the microphones and left this as unfinished business in the dead of night.
We were not deterred then, and we will not be deterred now. We took to social media and millions of Americans and people around the world offered up their personal social media channels to carry our message: ‘We are demanding a vote to save American lives.’
More than a year later, the House speaker still has not allowed this Congress to take a single vote on common sense, bipartisan gun safety legislation. It is tragic that Republican leadership continues to block every effort to save American lives from the threat of gun violence. As they ignore this crisis and continue pushing the NRA’s dangerous ‘guns everywhere, rules nowhere’ agenda, our communities are becoming less and less safe.
I have not and I will not give up the fight. I’ve known too many people that have died. I’ve attended too many funerals and spoken to many grieving families.
It’s time to put the politics aside and do something. The massive amount of money that the NRA pours into Republican campaigns and leadership PACs ― including $30 million to elect President Donald Trump ― continues to prevent Congress from acting.
I will not stay silent as children continue to die in our streets. I will not stay quiet as long as crime guns flood into Chicago from Speaker Ryan’s (home state of ) Wisconsin and Vice President Pence’s (home state of ) Indiana.
As we mark this anniversary, I want the Congressional Republican leadership to know that I’m not done fighting and have more tools than a single sit-in to fight back against their inaction.”