House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she asked House Speaker John Boehner (R-Calif.) to form a special committee on gun violence because “he has all these select committees, why can’t we have one on an issue that is of real concern to the American people?”
At her press conference today, Pelosi referenced this week’s moment of silence on the House floor for the Oregon community college shooting victims.
“But every time this happens, we have a moment of silence, and then silence reigns. We do nothing else. We have become the Congress of silence, of inaction when it comes to addressing the crisis of gun violence in our country,” she said.
Pelosi requested the special committee in a Friday letter to Boehner. “The epidemic of gun violence in our country challenges the conscience of our nation,” she wrote.
“I urge you to create a Select Committee on Gun Violence to confront this crisis and report back common sense legislation to help end it. The bipartisan committee would be charged to present its recommendations to the House within 60 days – in time for a vote before the third anniversary of the Newtown shooting this year,” Pelosi added.
“As we pray for those who lost their loved ones at Umpqua Community College, we must address the tidal wave of grief guns have caused to so many families. As Members of Congress, how can we in good conscience engage in moments of silence to honor these victims of gun violence, if we refuse to take action? We take a solemn oath to protect and defend the American people. We must not accept the horror of gun violence as routine.”
At today’s press conference, Pelosi said a select committee “could confront the epidemic and report back in a short period of time.”
“We can review some of the good work that is being done in some of our states, learn from those at the national level… we should act, we should do something about it, we should make some progress instead of having moments of silence, however respectful we want to be.”
Pelosi also blasted a longtime freeze on gun-violence research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“What we want to do is prevent gun violence, but if it happens, you really need to know so we can see if we’re making progress. You have to know where you are to see how you can and if you are making progress. So it’s appalling,” Pelosi said.
“I don’t know if it’s possible. We don’t — we are not in the majority. I don’t know if it’s possible to get the [former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.)] legislation out of the [HHS appropriations] bill, I’ll be very honest with you. …The public should know that even something as one would think as benign as just knowing and doing the research on gun injury, that would be helpful to the American people.”