Dem: Now is the time to discuss gun control
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Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyEPA defends suspension of pollution monitoring in letter to Congress House Democrats blast EPA as agency suspends monitoring amid coronavirus Illinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary MORE (D-Ill.) on Wednesday called on Congress to debate gun laws in the aftermath of last week’s mass shooting in Charleston, S.C.

Many lawmakers have backed away from discussing gun control in the days after the racially motivated shooting during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

But Quigley said there is a double standard for when politicians opt not to find legislative solutions to prevent similar tragedies in the future when it comes to gun violence. 

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“I wish this tragedy in Charleston was an isolated incident, but it seems to be part of a terrible recurring pattern. After national tragedies, society should engage in a discussion about how to address and potentially prevent such tragedies from happening again,” the Illinois Democrat said on the House floor.

“Let’s remember that after Katrina, we talked about FEMA and national readiness. But the gun lobby doesn’t want us to have this conversation. They accuse anyone who tries with exploiting the deaths of innocent people,” he said.

Quigley cited repeated inaction after the shootings at the Navy Yard in 2013, Aurora, Colo. in 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2011, a Sikh temple in 2012, Tucson in 2011, Fort Hood in 2009, Northern Illinois University in 2008 and Virginia Tech in 2007.

“When will enough be enough?” he asked.

The Senate attempted to move legislation to expand background checks in 2013 after the Sandy Hook shooting, but it failed to clear a filibuster.

Quigley offered expanding background checks, improving gun traffic data and an assault weapons ban as potential legislative proposals that could help reduce gun violence.

“Can we stop every shooting? No. But can we reduce their frequency and deadliness? Absolutely. The first step toward keeping dangerous guns out of the hands of dangerous people is to begin the conversation. Let’s break the silence, stop the violence and start the conversation,” Quigley said.