Matsui Delivers Floor Speech in Support of Students Raising Their Voices on Gun Violence Prevention Reform


Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of students raising their voices on the need for reforms to prevent gun violence. Following her remarks, the Congresswoman joined a student rally at the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the courageous students in Sacramento, California and across America who are saying enough with this country’s epidemic of gun violence.

Last week, I held a gun violence prevention student town hall in my district and we were fortunate enough to be joined remotely by two students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Adam Alhanti and John Barnitt.

They inspired us all with their dedication to a future without a fear of gun violence.

The students that filled the auditorium of Kennedy High School in Sacramento to listen to Adam and John were fully informed, passionate, and focused on the future.

They wanted to know how we could enforce stronger background checks, ban assault weapons, change a culture of guns in this country, and how they could amplify their voices.

After hearing their thoughts and questions, I know one thing for sure… these amazing young people are not going to back down from achieving progress on this issue.

And I believe it would be incumbent upon all of us to listen to their voices.

They are the voices of the future.

As Adam from Parkland said during our town hall, this issue of gun violence “affects all of us.”

No one wants to live in fear about going to school, work, the movies, church, a concert, or just walking on the street.

So no one can afford to sit on the sidelines and do nothing to reform gun laws in this country.

We owe it to these students, to our children, our grandchildren, and all future generations to come together and take action on commonsense legislation.

Many of the things we want to see reformed are largely supported by the American people.

In fact, one high school student in Sacramento pointed out to me that policies like universal background checks have widespread support from the public.

It’s true. Polls indicate that over 90 percent of the American people support stronger background checks.

Under current federal law, people who purchase firearms at a gun show, through classified ads, or on the internet bypass a background check. There is no excuse not to act to close those dangerous loopholes.

It’s our job to represent and act on the will of the citizens in this country. We can by voting on solutions like the bipartisan Thompson-King legislation that would expand and strengthen the current background check system.

And yet, here we find ourselves… another week in Congress without a vote on real gun violence reform legislation.

At one point during my town hall last Friday, Adam from Parkland said, “We are heard. There is no more, can we be heard, it’s now, people hear us,” they ask… “What’s next.”

These young people are rightfully going to keep up their demands until we make significant reforms that make a lasting impact.

I ask my Republican colleagues to not only listen to these students, but also take meaningful action to address the gun violence epidemic in this country. 

Words are not enough. We must move forward.