March 23, 2021

Durbin Delivers Opening Remarks in Hearing on Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence

Durbin: These victims and their loved ones are worthy of our thoughts and our prayers. But there is more that is required.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement during a Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Constitutional and Common Sense Steps to Reduce Gun Violence”.  Durbin recognized the victims of the recent mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado, which claimed 18 lives in total.  Durbin also argued that gun violence is an epidemic in our country and that it requires urgent action from Congress, not just thoughts and prayers.

Today’s hearing is the first of a series of hearings to examine proposals to reduce gun violence.  The hearings will consider public health, law enforcement, and community-based approaches aimed at saving lives and making communities safer.

“These victims and their loved ones are worthy of our thoughts and our prayers. But there is more that is required…I could ask for a moment of silence for the mass shooting in Boulder last night. And after that is completed, I could ask for a moment of silence for the shooting in Atlanta six days ago. And after a minute, I could ask for a moment of silence for the 29 mass shootings that occurred this month in the United States. But, in addition to a moment of silence, I would like to ask for a moment of action. A moment of real caring,”Durbin said.

“The numbers are sobering. And each number is an individual person, a loved one, a neighbor, a friend, a husband, a father, a son, or a daughter. We've seen too many desperate trips to the emergency room, too many funerals, too many families and communities have been scarred forever by gun violence. We've come to accept it as part of American life,” Durbin continued. “We are numb to the numbers. Unless we are personally touched, it's just another statistic. That has got to stop. This committee, this hearing, I hope will open a conversation about the constitutional, common sense ways to reduce gun violence in America.”

During his opening statement, Durbin expressed his support for a number of common sense proposals – like closing the gaps in the background check system – that would help save lives. 

“We won’t solve this crisis just with prosecutions after funerals happen. We need prevention before shootings,”Durbin said. “Polls show around 90 percent of Americans support closing the gaps in the background check system...We're debating this? 90 percent of Americans agree on it. So do a majority of gun owners. It's a common sense step that is consistent with the second amendment that would save lives.”

Durbin concluded, “I want to speak to those watching who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence whether it was last week, last night, last year, or even longer. Many of them are working tirelessly to help spare other families what they've gone through. I mourn your loss, but I praise and thank you for your advocacy to help others. I hear you, I'm with you, and we will keep working to get this done.”

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.

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