Washington, D.C., February 4, 2020 - Tonight, Brady recognizes the many survivors of gun violence who attended the State of the Union, joining with them in remembering the lives lost to gun violence and the urgent need for action. Their presence underscores the glaring failure of President Trump to even mention the gun violence epidemic. Brady is disappointed in this negligent omission.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
Tonight, President Trump shared his vision for our country, reporting that the state of our union is stronger than ever before and that we are on a ‘Great American Comeback.’
While our country has in some ways made encouraging progress, we have made next to none in the effort to prevent gun violence and end this national public health and safety crisis.
Responsibility for that effort lies on all of us, but also sits squarely on the President’s shoulders. This is not a comeback. In this effort, it is an unconscionable dereliction of duty.
No other industrialized country deals with such pervasive and daily gun violence as the United States. Last year alone, over 39,000 people died of gun violence in our country, a crisis that would elicit immediate action were our country not numb to the daily occurrences or resigned to this reality.
We cannot be numb. We cannot be resigned. We will not accept complacency. Not when we know that every day approximately 100 people are killed by gun violence in our country. Not when we know that the gun industry continues to pour millions into our political system to stop legislative action, including the $30 million spent to elect President Trump in 2016.
Though our President and the Senate refuse to act, we know that we must continue to demand progress. Later this month will mark one year since the U.S. House of Representatives passed two, bipartisan bills, H.R.8 and H.R.1112, that would expand and strengthen background checks and that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not even brought to the floor for a vote.
Tonight, President Trump shared that he believes that “the next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
Mr. President, approximately 1,488 children a year die of gun violence. They cannot achieve the American Dream if they are dead. As Sen. Kamala Harris shared during tonight’s speech, we are traumatizing a generation of Americans.”
Despite no mention of the gun violence epidemic from the President, the reality of gun violence in America was present in the House chamber tonight. Representatives from across the country brought survivors and activists to accompany them to tonight’s speech, illustrating how gun violence affects every community across the nation.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) brought Fred Guttenberg and Brady California President Mattie Scott. Mr. Guttenberg’s daughter Jaime was murdered in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. Ms. Scott has worked with Brady and fought for common-sense gun reform since her son, George, was shot and killed in 1996.
Rep. Tom Suozzi brought Linda Beigel Schulman, whose son Scott was murdered 2 years ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Rep. Joe Neguse (CO-02) brought Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was killed at Columbine High School in 1999.
Rep. David Price (NC-04) brought Simone Afriyie, the President of the University of North Carolina’s March for our Lives chapter.
Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26) brought Susan Orfanos, whose son Telemachus Orfanos, a U.S. Navy veteran, was killed in the 2018 shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) brought Kevin Harden, a gun violence survivor and Philadelphia native, who was shot in 2006 and has become advocate in the fight to end gun violence.
Sen. Bob Casey (PA) brought M’kiyah Martin, a 14-year-old gun violence prevention advocate and student from South Philadelphia.
“The presence of these advocates and survivors at tonight’s State of the Union are a reminder of why we must never falter in this work. These survivors have the courage to come to this event to ensure change that will save others. It is too late to save the ones they hold most dear, but they forge on out of deep empathy and the desire to make America safe for all of its citizens.
You stated that while you are President, you will always protect the Second Amendment. You can save lives, protect your people, and protect the Second Amendment.
In 2020, we will hold every elected official accountable for their efforts or failure to prevent gun violence. This is a crisis that they cannot ignore. And, we won’t.”
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.