Remarks at a press conference in support of H.R.1112 to close the “Charleston Loophole.”
“Do not stand idly by where your neighbor’s blood is shed.” (Leviticus 19:16)
In the three and a half years since the attack here at Mother Emanuel, in the four months since the attack at Tree of Life, synagogues, churches, and mosques have hired security guards; we’ve consulted with experts and fine-tuned safety procedures. We’ve followed the recommendations of “industry standards” and increased our insurance coverage in the event of an active shooter.
In the six years since Newtown, and the twelve months since Parkland, students and teachers have practiced lockdown drills. We’ve put locks on doors, covered windows to classrooms. We’ve asked our children — in the places that are supposed to be safe havens — to visualize and anticipate the reality of an active shooter on the premises. Do we even yet know the long-term effects of such drills?
We do these things because it’s a matter of safety and security. Yet it’s supposed to be a BOTH-AND.
While our children visualize shooters in their classrooms, while worshippers prepare for an attack in their house of worship, we have yet to pass a single meaningful piece of legislation that might have a real impact on preventing such an attack in the first place.
We know that background checks work. And we also know that sometimes they may take longer than 3 days — particularly in the case where there is more data to sift through; an indicator that the completion of the background check is that much more essential, not less so. And the vast majority of Americans want to see this loophole closed.
Let’s get this done. And the next time our children come home from school, telling us they’ve practiced a code red to prepare for gun violence, we’ll be able to look them in the eye having done something of significance to protect them from gun violence, as well.