FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 3, 2015
Contact: Zachary Coile 202-224-8120
BOXER SPEAKS ON TRAGIC SHOOTING IN SAN BERNARDINO
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spoke on the Senate floor today in reaction to yesterday’s tragic shooting in San Bernardino and in support of sensible gun legislation to protect the American people.
“My heart is broken after this rampage that led to tragic loss of life, so many injuries, so much trauma and pain for the people of San Bernardino,” Boxer said. “I want to thank the medical personnel who are working as we speak to save lives, and all the brave, courageous law enforcement officers who rushed to the scene and later stopped these killers.”
The Senator added, “It isn’t enough for us to keep lamenting these tragedies. We need to take action now before something else like this happens again.”
Boxer noted that the U.S. is averaging more than one mass shooting a day, and 31 Americans are killed every day from gun violence. “People deserve to feel safe in their communities…They deserve to feel safe when they go to a holiday party at work. They deserve to be safe sitting in these galleries. They deserve to be safe going to a movie theater. They deserve to be safe in their school when they are six years old or 16 or 26. They deserve to be safe in their workplace, at a shopping mall, at a restaurant and at a health care clinic.” Boxer said.
The full video of Senator Boxer’s speech is available here.
The text of the Senator’s remarks as delivered is below:
“Mr. President, when I woke up this morning, I’d hoped that yesterday’s tragedy in San Bernardino was just an unimaginable nightmare, and then, as I usually do in the morning, I go through the clips from my state, and I read the headlines:
“Blood Bath in San Bernardino.”
“14 Slain at California Office Party.”
“Carnage in California.”
“Shooting Rampage Sows Terror in California.”
“At Least 14 Dead in Mass Shooting.”
“Deadly Rampage at Holiday Party.”
“A Day of Horror.”
“Horror Hits Home.”
“Horrific” Just one word.
“Masked Mass Murder.”
These are from papers from all over my state and a couple of national headlines. My heart is broken after this rampage that led to tragic loss of life, so many injuries, so much trauma and pain for the people of San Bernardino.
I want to thank the medical personnel who are working as we speak to save lives, and all the brave, courageous law enforcement officers who rushed to the scene and later stopped these killers.
We know that the victims in this attack were county employees at the San Bernardino Department of Public Health. I began my career as a county supervisor, and I oversaw in Marin County, the Department of Public Health. And I know how dedicated those county employees are.
They are right there.
They’re right there in the communities. And the facility was really dedicated to helping to save people.
So for this to happen at a holiday party where these employees were gathering in friendship — it’s a stunning shock. And while details about the motive behind this despicable attack are still unknown, here’s what we do know: Because these killers used military-style weapons, 14 people died and 17 people were wounded in a matter of minutes. The purpose of these guns, these military-style guns, is to kill a lot of people very fast, Mr. President.
The scene looked like a war zone, and there’s a reason for that. Again, because these weapons, they’re designed for the military. They’re designed for the police.
And I have to be honest with you, sir. I have never heard one persuasive argument about why anyone else would need to have this type of weapon. These weapons of war. They just don’t belong on our streets and in our communities.
My colleague, Senator Feinstein, for years has been pushing sensible legislation that would keep these military-style weapons off our streets. We need to stand with her. We need to stand with her across party lines and pass it.
It is so discouraging, Mr. President, that we can’t even pass legislation here that would keep suspected terrorists who are on the no-fly list from legally buying a weapon, any kind of a weapon.
So it isn’t enough for us to keep lamenting these tragedies. We need to take action now before something else like this happens again in your state, in my state.
You know, when we take an oath of office, we swear that we will protect and defend the American people. I just don’t think we’re protecting them.
Will we allow these type of weapons to get into the wrong hands?
This year, we’re averaging more than one mass shooting every single day. Multiple people killed by guns, innocent people every day.
This is America. This doesn’t happen in other industrialized nations.
Thirty-one people die every day from gun violence.
After ten years of the Vietnam war, we lost nearly 60,000 Americans, and people were in despair.
We lose more than that to gun violence in less than two years in this great nation.
If it was anything else that caused the death of 30,000 Americans a year, every single senator would be in their chair, and we would be demanding action, and we would be crossing over party lines to stop it. Because that, my friends, is an epidemic.
People deserve to feel safe in their communities. I don’t understand it. They deserve to feel safe when they go to a holiday party at work. They deserve to be safe sitting in these galleries. They deserve to be safe going to a movie theater. They deserve to be safe in their school when they are six years old or 16 or 26. They deserve to be safe in their workplace, at a shopping mall, at a restaurant and at a health care clinic.
This is our job, to keep our people safe. We know the threats that face us abroad, and we have threats at home. So we need to do both. We need to protect our people abroad from threats abroad and from threats at home, and the very best way to honor the victims of gun violence is to take sensible steps that are supported by the American people like universal background checks, keeping assault weapons in the hands of our military and our police, safety features on guns, keeping guns out of the hands of people who were unbalanced, unstable criminals, and then we can prevent these tragedies.
Will we prevent every tragedy? No.
I know my friends say ‘Well, someone could have a knife.’ Yes. It’s a lot easier to get away from a knife than an automatic weapon that mows you down before you can even look up and figure out what’s happening.
So I’m crying out today for support for sensible gun laws. And regardless of motive, we need to make sure that military weapons belong in the hands of the military and the police. It’s pretty straightforward.
Our people are not safe. I don’t care what state you look at, I don’t care what city you look at. I don’t care what town you look at. San Bernadino is a beautiful place. I don’t live far from there. I have an office about 15 minutes or less from there. People deserve to feel safe in our communities.
And so I send my love, my prayers, my solidarity to the community, to the families, to the first responders, to everyone there.
We’re going to pull together, like all these communities do, but we need to prevent these things from happening because if we don’t, we’re liable. I believe we’re liable. We know what’s killing people every day. It’s gun violence, and we know it.
I’m not a lawyer but I have a lot of family members who are lawyers. My son, my father was, my husband is. And I think once you know something is happening and you can do something about it and you don’t do something about it, you’re liable. Maybe not in a legal sense, but in the moral sense.
So I hope we’re going to come together around this.
Every time, the press comes and asks me tragedy after tragedy after tragedy, ‘Will something happen now?’
After Sandy Hook, I said, ‘Absolutely, we’re going to come together.’ We did not. We did not.
And I want to just close with this: In California, we have tough gun laws. I don’t know how these weapons got where they were. We’ll find out. And people say ‘Well, you have these gun laws.’ Look at this: we have had a 56 percent reduction in gun violence since 1993 in my great state because we have taken action, but this is one nation under God. Somebody comes from a nearby state, from north, from east and they have a gun.
So that’s why it is so important for us to work together and have sensible national laws, universal background checks.
Almost 90 percent of the people support it.
The majority of NRA Members support it.
What’s wrong with us that we can’t do that?
What are we afraid of?
And these military assault style weapons that kill so fast and so many people, we should make sure that they’re in the hands of the military and the police.
Mr. President, my heart is heavy, and it will remain so. This was supposed to be a great day for a lot of us who worked so long and hard on a highway bill. This is a moment that we were waiting for. And that’s what life’s about. You know, there are these moments that you savor, and there are moments that you wish to God you never had to talk about or experience.
That’s the kind of day it is for this particular senator, and I know Senator Feinstein feels the same way.
I thank you very much, and I yield the floor.”