Following the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip that killed at least 59 people and left over 527 wounded, at least one lawmaker drew a clear line in an effort to curb gun violence in the country.
Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, a former Marine Corps infantry platoon commander who served four tours in Iraq, echoed the message for which many Democratic lawmakers have rallied in the wake of mass shootings in the US.
“As someone who’s seen the effects of gun violence first hand at war, my heart goes out to the victims and families in Las Vegas,” Rep. Moulton of Massachusetts said in Facebook video on Monday. “But now is not the time for silence — it’s a time for action.”
“It’s a time for us to finally come together as Americans and actually do something about this scourge of violence that uniquely effects Americans,” Moulton continued. “We can protect the Second Amendment, we can protect our constitutional rights, and we can still do something about this public health crisis that is gun violence in our communities.”
“These guns have no business in our schools, on our streets, or at concerts.”
Moulton also said he would not take part in what has become a somber tradition on Capitol Hill following a national tragedy.
“I will not be standing with my colleagues in a moment of silence that just becomes an excuse for inaction in the House of Representatives today,” Moulton said. “I will work to do something about this problem so that it doesn’t happen again.”
Moulton, a fierce proponent of gun-control legislation, also prodded House Speaker Paul Ryan to allow a debate on gun control in Congress on Monday.
“I don’t know how many innocent Americans have to die before Republican leadership has the courage to have a debate about this,” Moulton said, according to Boston.com. “Not even to vote for it, I’m just saying to have a debate.”
“How many more Americans need to die, Mr. Speaker, before you do your job?”
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 assassination attempt during a mass shooting in Arizona, and her husband Mark Kelly also delivered an impassioned speech calling for increased measures for gun control on Monday.
Giffords was shot in the head while meeting with constituents at a grocery store in Tuscon. Six other people were killed in the shooting.
“Your thoughts and prayers aren’t going to stop the next shooting,” Kelly said. “Only action and leadership will do that.”
“Well, I’m a gun owner, Gabby’s a gun owner,” Kelly continued. “I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment. However, we can respect the Second Amendment and the rights of responsible gun owners, and at the same time, we can keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers, potential mass shooters, and idiots.