WASHINGTON — A Maryland Dem is trying to change House rules so that the chamber observes a moment of silence for every shooting victim in America, not just mass shootings and terror attacks.
The House has recently observed moments of silence for victims of the October mass shooting in Las Vegas, the Halloween bike path terror attack in Manhattan, and the November mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Freshman Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) introduced H.R. 666 this week “to observe a 60-second moment of silence in the House for those killed by gun violence in the United States on the next legislative day after any such individual dies.”
Raskin, a former Maryland state senator, said while introducing the bill that he “came to Congress to work on gun safety, among other pressing issues.”
“I know, from my state experience, that it is possible to enact common-sense and common-ground gun safety legislation that still respects people’s Second Amendment rights,” he said. “But since I arrived last January, there have been 397 episodes of mass gun violence in the U.S. and two of them are among the worst massacres by gun in American history. Thousands of people died by gun in 2017, and what have we done to help end this horrifying epidemic? Nothing.”
“We have not even taken up a universal background check, which is supported by more than 90 percent of the American people,” the congressman added. “Instead, all we know how to do is have an occasional moment of silence when there’s a mass shooting so obscene that it cannot be ignored and even then our perfunctory moments of silence barely last ten seconds, and then we quickly move on to the next thing like renaming a post office.”
Raskin argued his resolution would “force” GOP colleagues “to reflect on the consequences of their inaction on a daily basis.”
“My hope is that if Congress is forced to confront the individual meaning of gun violence for our constituents in real time, we will finally take strong action to save the lives of the people we are elected to represent,” he said.
The Newtown Action Alliance issued a letter in support of Raskin’s resolution, arguing “all lives taken by gun murders in America deserve equal attention.”
“Congressional moments of silence are necessary for the 33 Americans who lose their life daily” to gun violence, the group said.
During the November moment of silence for the Texas mass shooting victims, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) walked out of the House chamber and streamed his protest on Facebook.
“My colleagues right now are doing a moment of silence in the House of Representatives chambers,” Lieu said. “I respect their right to do that and I myself have participated in many of them.”
“But I can’t do this again; I’ve been to too many moments of silences,” he added. “In just my short period in congress three of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred. I will not be silent.”