Last night, in a speech to the U.S. House, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) responded to calls from her constituents, including Maine students, who’ve said loud and clear that they want Congress to reduce gun violence in America and reinstate the national assault weapons ban which lapsed in 2004.
Text of her speech is as follows:
Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, and now Parkland—the common denominator between all these awful tragedies has been the use of assault weapons.
Built to kill, these customizable weapons have allowed gunmen to slaughter dozens of innocent people swiftly, easily, and with no special training.
Since the ban on assault weapons lapsed in 2004, far too many of these weapons have ended up in the wrong hands.
There is no one solution to reducing mass shootings and other forms gun violence in our nation, but reinstating the ban on assault weapons would be a critical first step.
I urge all of my House colleagues to put public safety before the interests of the gun lobby and pass The Assault Weapons Ban of 2018 to keep weapons of war off of our streets and out of our schools.
I have heard from students from across Maine who want to feel safe in their schools. They do not want their classrooms to look and feel like prisons. They do not want to live in fear that someone could enter their school with a firearm that is capable of committing mass murder.
We owe it to the generation of students who are growing up against a backdrop of lockdown drills and mass shootings. We must act like adults and protect them by banning assault weapons.
I yield back.
On Monday, in the wake of a mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school that left 17 dead at the hands of an AR-15, Pingree and 155 of her House colleagues cosponsored a bill, introduced by Representatives Cicilline (D-RI) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), to reinstate a national assault weapons ban.