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After President Trump Ignores Gun Violence, SOTU Responses Demand Action

February 5, 2020

Last night’s State of the Union marked just over three years since President Donald Trump took office. During that time, at least 100,000 Americans have been killed by guns––and twice that many have been wounded––in mass shootings, incidents of daily gun violence, unintentional gun violence, and gun suicide. But Trump has consistently stood in the way of gun safety legislation, and last night, he ignored the gun violence crisis during his State of the Union address. 

Unlike President Trump’s address, the State of the Union responses delivered by Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) addressed America’s gun violence crisis and called for bipartisan solutions that would save lives.
Rep. Escobar’s speech, delivered in Spanish, remembered the tragic shooting in El Paso and called for background checks on all gun sales:  

  • “As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep our communities safe. And that means taking action to end the gun violence epidemic in America.”
  • “On August 3rd of last year, El Paso suffered from the deadliest targeted attack against Latinos in American history. A domestic terrorist confessed to driving over 10 hours to target Mexicans and immigrants. Just before he began his killing spree, he posted his views online and used hateful language like the very words used by President Trump to describe immigrants and Latinos. That day, the killer took 22 innocent lives, injured dozens, and broke all of our hearts.”
  • “Incidents of gun violence take place in our schools, places of worship and neighborhoods every single day. Democrats understand that this is a matter of life and death. As one of our first actions, our Majority passed legislation that would strengthen background checks and save lives, which is supported by an overwhelming majority of the public.”
  • “Frankly, the biggest threat to our safety and security is a President and a Republican controlled Senate unwilling to take action for our country acting solely in their own interest. Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate, is openly stonewalling legislation that would help improve the lives of veterans, women, and families––all of us.”

Gov. Whitmer’s speech demanded action and thanked students for leading the way:

  • “Democracy takes action, and that’s why I’m so inspired by young people. They respond to mass shootings, demanding policies that make schools safer…. It’s what gives me great confidence in our future, and it’s why sometimes, it feels like they’re the adults in the room. But it shouldn’t have to be that way. It’s not their mess to clean up. It’s ours. The choices we make today create their reality tomorrow.” 

The American people overwhelmingly agree with Rep. Escobar and Gov. Whitmer’s calls for action. 93 percent of American voters support background checks on all gun sales, and 89 percent of voters favor Congress passing a red flag law. Both policies are proven to save lives. 

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