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VIDEO: In Floor Speech, Pingree Says ‘Nation's Gun Violence Epidemic Must Be Addressed by the 116th Congress’

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) spoke on the House floor today to support H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, and mark the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords 8 years ago this week. The tragic shooting severely injured Giffords and 18 of her constituents, while claiming the lives of six people.

Pingree has long advocated for legislation to address the nation’s epidemic of gun violence  but under the last years of Republican control, commonsense bills were never brought to the floor for debate. Now in the majority, Democrats have made the issue a top priority of the 116th Congress. 

A group of five Republicans and five Democrats introduced H.R. 8, yesterday  The bill would widen required background checks to all gun sales and most transfers.  It does contain a number of exemptions, including for transfers between certain family members, the execution of estates, and for temporary transfers at shooting ranges and for hunting.  Current law only requires federally licensed dealers to conduct background checks on their sales.  

Pingree’s remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you M. Speaker

Today I rise in support of HR. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, a common-sense bill to mandate background checks before the sale of a firearm.

During my first term in Congress, I served with my friend and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords on the Armed Forces Committee.

Eight years ago this week, during a public meeting with constituents, a gunman shot her and 18 others—tragically killing six.

Since that dark day in 2011, mass shootings have become commonplace--occurring in our schools, houses of worship, movie theaters, night clubs, grocery stores, a newsroom, a concert…

Nearly every imaginable place that should be safe.

Although 97 percent of Americans support background checks, the NRA’s stranglehold on Congress has caused many members to simply pass along “thoughts and prayers” in the face of these tragedies.


The nation's gun violence epidemic must be addressed by the 116th Congress.

I’m in awe of Gabby’s resilience and advocacy for overdue gun safety reforms like HR. 8 which will ensure firearms do not end up in the hands of those who cannot pass a simple background check.

I urge all of my colleagues to support this bill.

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