To the people of Chicago,
I want to thank everyone who gathered in Federal Plaza in Chicago today to deliver a simple message: enough.
We’ve had enough of the shootings that happen every day in the neighborhoods of Chicago and across America. We’ve had enough funerals…enough families who now face an empty seat at the dinner table…enough parents who have to walk every day past an empty bedroom because their son or daughter was taken from them by gun violence. Enough shootings of men, women and children while they are sitting on their porches, walking on sidewalks, and standing in parks.
We’ve had enough with loopholes in our gun laws that allow dangerous people to get their hands on guns. We’ve had enough with the gun traffickers and straw purchasers who buy guns out of state and sell them out of the trunks of their cars in Chicago. We’ve had enough with the gun shows where you can buy from private sellers with no FBI background check. And we’ve had enough with lawmakers who are too scared of the gun lobby to stand up and fix our laws to keep our kids and our communities safe.
As Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis said, “Sometimes by sitting down, by sitting in, you’re standing up.” Last week, Congressman Lewis along with several members of the Illinois Congressional delegation led a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to demand action from Republicans in Congress. All they wanted was a vote on common-sense legislation to close loopholes in our gun laws. These reforms are supported by 90 percent of the American people, and they would help save lives here in Chicago. But the gun lobby does not want to close these loopholes because it might hurt their gun sales. So the Republicans in the House shut down the C-Span cameras and closed the chamber rather than call a vote. They were hoping to silence the voices of those calling for reform.
But we will not be silent. We will continue to work tirelessly in Chicago, in Washington, D.C., and in every community across the country to address the epidemic of gun violence.
When Americans are being shot and killed in their homes and neighborhoods, lawmakers have a responsibility to act. So many of the shootings that kill and injure people in Chicago are preventable. Our laws must be fixed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We have to keep speaking out for common sense reforms. If we do, we can beat the gun lobby and save lives.
As John Lewis said, “we’re going to continue to push, to pull, to stand up, and if necessary, to sit down. So don’t give up, don’t give in. Keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the prize.” We will. Because we’ve had enough.