Pelosi Remarks at Unveiling of Bipartisan Universal Background Checks Legislation

January 9, 2019
Press Release
Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and advocates to introduce bipartisan legislation to expand background checks for sales and transfers of firearms.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.   Good afternoon everyone.  I’m very honored to be here with some very special guests who will speak about an epidemic in our country that must be stopped, that we have the opportunity to stop.

Before you hear from them, before you hear from Representative Thompson, who is the Chair of our Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, new Congresswoman, just one week a Congresswoman, Congresswoman McBath, Shannon Watts from – she’s just been so completely remarkable, about Moms Demand Action.

And I just want to name some of the groups that are here because so many of them have had contact with gun violence in our country.  So many of them have engaged families in channeling their grief into saving other lives.  The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Federation of Teachers, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, CAP, Ceasefire PA, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Everytown, Giffords, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, March for Our Lives, Moms Demand Action, Move On, National Education Association, Newtown Action Alliance and Newtown Foundation Violence Policy Center.

These are some of the groups who here, but as you know, across the country, many people are making a decision personally to take action.  They are joining organizations to amplify their voices.  Those organizations are in coalition with other organizations to, again, enhance that power, amplify it all.

Today, for us is a grief of pain as we mark eight years since the horrific attack in Tucson.  Every one of our colleagues knows exactly where he or she was when we heard the news of what was happening there.  Some of the news was confusing.  All of it was saddening.

But again, everyone can tell you the story.

As through any crowd that we are in, or any group we were in, or any place we were – just the horror of it all came through.  On that day, gun violence shattered lives in Arizona and tragedy pierced America’s heart.

We are blessed to be with survivors of that attack and survivors of so many other acts of gun violence today. But today is also a day of action.

We say ‘enough is enough’ by finally bringing commonsense bipartisan background check legislation to the Floor of the House.


Isn’t that exciting?


The gun violence crisis, again, as I said, is an epidemic that requires energy and engagement of our entire nation.  In that spirit, we are grateful to be with the advocates I named, blessed to be joined by my colleagues and participants I named.

But I am very honored to yield to the Chair of our Task Force.  The person who every single day, all day, 24/7 works on this issue with great brilliance – Chairman of the Task Force, Congressman Mike Thompson of California.


Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman for making this a very different day.

So many times after we have had a tragedy – and that’s almost every day because it happens every day across America – but a high-profile tragedy, we will go to the Floor and have a moment of silence.  And that’s it – silence, no action.  This time we will have a commemoration, a moment of silence and then the Chair will become Congressman Ted Deutch of Florida whose been a leader on this issue.

Thank you, Ted Deutch – come up here Ted, be with us.  Ted Deutch will be will in the Chair when that happens.


And then we will take action with this legislation.  I know you want to yield to our distinguished former colleague.


Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Shannon.  I see Shannon at work in California.  It’s hard to go to a church in any denomination without us wearing our orange and ringing our bell under her leadership to make sure that everybody knows that the crescendo is growing on this.

In that regard, I want to acknowledge Congressman Deutch, I want to acknowledge also from Florida Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell who’s with us here, and also Dwight Evans from Pennsylvania and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean from Pennsylvania – thank you for being with us.

The parents that I have met have said, ‘We belong to a club nobody should ever belong to.’  We don’t want any more members in that club, and we do know that this legislation can save lives.

So, before we walk over to the Floor of the House to drop the bill in the hopper, I am now going to, with great pride yield to my colleague, Mike Thompson, who will sign his legislation to make it official and make it ready for the hopper.