WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today during a Judiciary Committee hearing on reducing gun violence, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) lamented the lack of action on gun violence by the Republican-controlled Congress in the wake of last month’s tragic shooting in Florida. Citing a shooting that happened on his block earlier this week, Booker explained how such gun violence occurs every day in communities like his across the U.S. and called for increased urgency among his colleagues in Congress.
Excerpt from Senator Booker’s remarks:
“I live in a low-income community where hearing gun fire is not a rare thing…I know in my personal life with the proliferations of guns in this country that in my neighborhood you can jog around the community and see shrines to children and teenagers murdered – teddy bears and candles. It’s hard to avoid.
“As a mayor I’ve stood on street corners with bodies still lying on the street. I’ve been in aftermaths of shootings, moments after they’ve happened…I had the gruesome experience of having a 19-year-old die as I vainly tried to stop him from bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds.
“I hear these calls ‘never again,’ which I agree with, but the problem is it’s happening everyday. Every day in our country we are having people die. At the top of my block on Monday, where I live, a young man I know, Shahid Smith, was murdered by an automatic weapon. I talked to his mother yesterday, I’m going to his funeral Friday. He and I lived together in a building for almost 10 years. And his crew, the young men he hung out with in the lobby that I used to play basketball with, just about all of them are dead right now due to gun violence.
“And what hurts me so much is that we don’t seem to have the moral urgency to do things that are obvious to do. Here in Congress, I’ve been here for five years, multiple mass shootings, thousands of people in communities like mine have died and we have done nothing. Not one thing – from better funding the ATF to enforce the laws we already have to banning weapons of mass destruction to making universal background checks – we just haven’t been able to do. I applaud local efforts, the courage of my police officers in my city and my state I applaud local efforts, but so many of these changes have to happen on the national level.
“I’m going to be back in my community for yet another boy in a box where it barely makes a headline, it doesn’t even blip on the national news, and I can tell you right now…this is happening every single day. And so my only question for you two is, what do you say to a Congress right now – do you have specific messages to the people here who are doing nothing? Do you have any message to this Congress that’s prepared to do nothing in the face of the tragedies we’re seeing in your communities and mine?
Full video of Senator Booker’s questions is available here.