Friday, October 06, 2017
Kansas City Congressman Cleaver Against Bump Stocks And Gun Control Inaction
An important letter amid a tumultuous week in the nation's discourse from Kansas City's top elected official.
Take a look:
A "Minute of Silence" No More
The week started with the devastating Las Vegas mass shooting that claimed the lives of 58 people. After the initial shock, my immediate thoughts went to the families of those killed. My second thought was, what if it had been me or my family, enjoying an outdoor concert on a beautiful night. Then I wondered, as I always do after hearing such news, how do we prevent or reduce the likelihood of these mass shootings from occurring, year after year. The bravery and determination displayed that day by strangers helping one another, by the emergency responders and law enforcement, was amazing.
Last year I participated in an historic sit-in with House Democrats who were calling for a vote on gun violence laws. At that time, the shooting in Florida was the largest mass shooting that had ever taken place in our country. Sadly, that has now been surpassed.
This week, I also refused to participate in the after-the-slaughter obligatory call by the Speaker for a “minute of silence.” You have heard it hundreds of times, “Please stand for a minute of silence in honor of those killed in…” where ever. In the case of the Las Vegas shooting, 58 Americans were killed in cold-blood and the highest legislative body in the nation could only offer the bereaved families as well as the nation, a minute of silence. I simply walked into the cloak room and waited until the minute had passed.
I am sick of the “Our thoughts and prayers are with the...” whom ever. Look, I take prayer seriously and if I say that I am going to pray for someone, I do. I promised over a decade ago that unless I am physically and mentally unable, I will pray to him each night for the remainder of my life. Therefore, I prayed that evening and afterward, for the families and victims in my little room in my building across from the Capitol.
I call your attention to Exodus 14 where we find Moses trying to pray to God about all the problems he and his nation were facing. God responded, “Why are you praying to me? Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide the waters so that my people can go through on dry land.”
Congress at a minimum should ban the sale of what is called “bump stocks” which converts a legal semi-automatic weapon into firing like an automatic weapon. I am also in favor of commonsense gun safety reforms like closing the "no-fly, no-buy" terrorist gun loophole.
I know that some Members of Congress, for political reasons, push the notion that their opponents "want to take your guns" but I have been in Congress 13 years and there has never been a bill introduced for that purpose. I have family members who are well known to own guns. We must carefully balance efforts of allowing Americans the right to bear arms with strengthening gun safety in our country.
Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress