Congress may be in recess until July 5, but that’s not stopping U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro from calling upon Republican leadership in the House to allow a vote on gun control.
At a Tuesday press conference in Stratford, DeLauro demanded U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan call a vote on several gun control measures, including a “no fly, no buy” proposal, which would prohibit suspected terrorists on the federal No Fly List from purchasing firearms.
The event took place outside the Victoria Soto School, a part of the Stratford Academy named after one of the teachers who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
“This [building] is a stark reminder of the real and heartbreaking cost of gun violence,” DeLauro said. “It is a visible reminder of what is at stake and why we’re focused on that need for comprehensive gun violence reform legislation.”
The event was one day before the “National Day of Action” Democrats called for after the nearly 25-hour long sit-in at the House of Representatives last week. Nearly all of the House Democrats joined the sit-in, including DeLauro. She said she and her colleagues would continue to call for gun reform when the House reconvenes next week.
“If you think about the body in which I work, what do we do?” DeLauro asked. “We vote. That’s what you sent us there to do. To vote on the nation’s laws, on the issues that are important to the people in this country.” To not vote on gun control, DeLauro said, would be “a dereliction of duty.”
She expressed support for universal background checks, a “no fly, no buy” law, and allowing gun violence research.
“We need to be able to hold gun manufacturers accountable for crimes that are committed with their guns, and in my view, we need to ban all assault weapons,” DeLauro said.
Connecticut Against Gun Violence Executive Director Ron Pinciaro joined DeLauro in supporting the actions of lawmakers fighting for gun control measures following the Orlando shooting.
“In these couple of weeks it was not only the gun violence prevention movement that came together,” Pinciaro said. “But also coming to join us in this effort were three groups that were most affected by the events in Orlando — the LGBT community, the Latino community, and the Muslim community. They are now working with us on these days of action.”
Former Branford Police Chief John DeCarlo also spoke, urging Congress to allow federal research into gun violence. According to DeLauro, it has been nearly 20 years since the House prohibited federal funding for gun violence research. The former representative who wrote the amendment, Jay Dickey of Arkansas, now regrets doing so.
Critics of “no fly, no buy” gun proposals, including Speaker Ryan, have warned that the proposals would deprive citizens of a constitutional right without due process.
During a news conference last Thursday, Ryan said they don’t want to take away people’s constitutional rights without due process.
“Terrorism is the issue and defeating terrorism is our focus in the House,” Ryan said.
DeLauro said that legislators could refine the existing method for getting off the list, which is the smallest of the federal watch lists.
“Let’s take the information that we have, which put someone on that list for some reason, and let’s take the precaution of not allowing that individual to have access to a weapon,” she said.
DeLauro will join other Connecticut officials Wednesday at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington for the official “National Day of Action.”
In a letter sent to all Democrats last week, the organizers behind the sit-in urged their colleagues to “build the momentum” created by the sit-in, in hopes of pressuring Republicans into a vote.
“Our sit-in showed that the Republican Leadership can no longer ignore the epidemic of gun violence,” the Democrats wrote. “A movement was born and will only continue to grow.”
DeLauro will join U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, survivors of gun violence, clergy, local law enforcement officials, public health experts, LGBT leaders, and gun violence prevention advocates at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington to continue their call for action.
U.S. Rep. John Larson, who helped organize the sit-in, will host his call for action at Parker Memorial Community Center in Hartford at 4 p.m.
“Last week, we made it clear that House Democrats will no longer stand idly by while gun violence rips families apart,” Larson said. “Now, we are reaching out to our communities, our friends, and our neighbors to show the heavy toll gun violence takes on us all. The time for silence is over. The time for action is now.”