PARSIPPANY – Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) joined with members of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force this morning at a press conference urging the Senate to pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, and H.R.1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019. All three of these bipartisan bills were passed by the House and have been blocked for a vote by the Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Representative Sherrill’s remarks are below:
Thank you so much to Representative Veasey and the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force for bringing us together today, to Representative Thompson for your leadership, and to Robyn and Ky, the representatives from Brady and Everytown, for joining us this morning. I’d also like to thank you for taking a moment to talk about Chairman Cummings. He was a model for all the freshmen as we entered Congress, and I’m so sorry that we lost him far too soon.
My name is Mikie Sherrill, and I proudly represent New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District.
It was my father who taught me how to shoot. He was a lifetime member of the NRA, is an antique firearms dealer, and a sportsman. My father not only taught me how to shoot, he taught me how to safely handle firearms.
I continued that training at the U.S. Naval Academy, where I qualified as an expert shot in the Colt .45, the 9mm Beretta, and the M16 assault rifle. Again, I not only learned how to hit my mark, but I learned proper storage, handling techniques, and safety protocols.
I strongly believe in the rights of responsible gun owners. I have spent most of my life handling firearms. And that’s why I know how critical it is for this Congress to pass common sense gun safety laws.
There is virtually no disagreement among the American public — including gun owners — that we need universal background checks. And yet, just across this plaza, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring H.R. 8, a bipartisan background checks bill, up for a vote, and to protect the American people.
Closing the Charleston loophole, the gap in the FBI background checks system that allowed the Charleston shooter to massacre congregants at Mother Emanuel Church, is another common sense step we can take to keep our communities safe.
The same goes for the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization, that closes the boyfriend loophole, because 93 percent of women killed by men in 2015 were murdered by someone they knew, and the most common weapon was a gun.
The House has passed all three of these bills. The Senate now has had them for months and yet still refuses to act.
I learned in the Navy that leadership starts at the top. Right now the U.S. Senate is way behind, dangerously behind, the American public on this issue. Responsible gun owners understand this. Those experienced in firearms, like those standing before you today, understand this. It’s time for the U.S. Senate to show courage and put public safety ahead of partisan politics.
Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05), Chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33), Deputy Whip of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01), Member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
Kyleanne Hunter, VP of Programs for Brady United/Former US Marine Corps Combat Veteran
Robyn Sordelett, Member of Everytown for Gun Safety