Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Rep. Elijah Cummings on the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013
Transcript of press briefing remarks by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 on Feb. 5, 2013:
Good afternoon, everyone. As many of you know, this issue is extremely personal for me. A year and a half ago, I lost my nephew, Christopher Cummings, to a senseless act of gun violence. Just this week, my Treasurer lost his son to gun violence.
My nephew Christopher was just 20-years-old. He was a student at Old Dominion University in Virginia, and like our beautiful children at Sandy Hook, he was an amazing young man with his entire life ahead of him.
Today, in addition to being here as a member of Congress, I want all of the family members who have lost their loved ones to gun violence to understand that I know what they are going through. It is painful thing to see your blood splattered on the walls of an apartment, to see tissue from your loved ones splattered on walls. I understand why they are desperate for action and why they do not ask their elected officials to do something but they are begging us to address the problem. They want us to put aside politics, disregard partisan rhetoric, and work together on common-sense reforms that everyone can agree on.
When I think about my nephew, I know he would be so proud of us here today. Look at this group. We have Democrats and Republicans; we have members from rural districts and urban districts; we represent citizens in Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
And I want to thank my Republican colleagues for reaching across the aisle, and I really mean that. This is so important. This is what leadership is all about. We have law enforcement groups from all across the country, local, regional, and national officials have all come together to endorse this legislation, and we greatly appreciate your support.
After the massacre at Sandy Hook, some said nothing – nothing – would happen in the House of Representatives. Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today on a bipartisan basis to say that those skeptics are wrong. We have a message for our colleagues in the House: This bill simply makes sense. Law enforcement officials have asked for it. It will make a significant difference in combatting gun crime and it will not affect the right of a single legitimate gun owner. So we ask them to join us in taking this critical step forward. We all need to join hands.
I acknowledge that this bill will not solve every problem. This is just one step. But that is no excuse for doing nothing. If we never take action, we will never be able to solve any problem.
As our colleague, Gabby Giffords said in her testimony last week, we must act now. She said we must act boldly and we must act courageously.
America is truly counting on us. Sometimes the hardest things in life are not quite as hard when you work together. This bipartisan group has been working together for weeks now, and we’ve been able to talk honestly about the problem of gun violence, and as a result, I believe we have found not just common [ground] but we have found higher ground.
Finally, let me note that it was law enforcement officials who asked for this legislation. As my colleague, Ms. Maloney said, they basically begged for it, and they begged for it because they simply wanted to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. It was law enforcement agencies who testified before Congress [that] despite what you may think there is no dedicated federal statute against firearm trafficking. They told us that punishments for straw purchasers are too low so those criminals have no incentive to cooperate with prosecutors who target kingpins and other leaders of gun trafficking networks.
- Oversight.House.gov: Bipartisan bill to combat gun trafficking
- Oversight.House.gov: Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 introduced on Feb. 5, 2013 (PDF)
- Oversight.House.gov: SPECIAL REPORT: “OUTGUNNED: Law Enforcement Agents Warn Congress They Lack Adequate Tools to Counter Illegal Firearms Trafficking”
- WhatTheFolly.com: House lawmakers introduce bill to toughen penalties against “straw purchasers”
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association endorses the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Rep. Elijah Cummings on the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Rep. Patrick Meehan on the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Rep. Carolyn Maloney on the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Rep. Scott Rigell on the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies on Operation Fast & Furious
- WhatTheFolly.com: Congressional report slams Justice Department & ATF for botched ‘gun walking’ operation
- WhatTheFolly.com: Justice Department issues stricter gun reporting rules to curb flow of U.S. weapons into Mexico