Kaine Joins Democratic Colleagues To Request Hearing On School Shootings
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined his Democratic colleagues on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to call on Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-VA) to hold a HELP hearing as soon as possible to examine the causes and remedies for school shootings and other mass shootings. Kaine and his Democratic colleagues believe gun violence is a public health crisis, putting it in the purview of their committee that covers health.
“As Senators, it is our responsibility to address gun violence like the public health crisis that it is, investigate the causes of these deadly acts of violence and hatred, and make policy changes to ensure that they no longer happen. Doing so necessitates hearing from survivors of gun violence and others who have been affected, including students, parents, and teachers. It also requires hearing from experts who can speak to how public health research and interventions could support our efforts to end school shootings in this country,” the Senators wrote.
In addition to Kaine, the letter was signed by Chris Murphy (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) signed the letter.
As Mayor of Richmond, Governor of Virginia, and U.S. Senator, Kaine has supported commonsense steps to reduce gun violence. As Governor, Kaine helped strengthen the background record check system following the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech. In the Senate, he has co-sponsored legislation to strengthen background checks, ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, hold gun manufacturers accountable, and close loopholes that allow domestic abusers to legally obtain weapons.
The full text of the letter can be found here and below:
The Honorable Lamar Alexander The Honorable Patty Murray
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor Committee on Health, Education, Labor
and Pensions and Pensions
428 Dirksen Senate Office Building 428 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, District of Columbia 20510 Washington, District of Columbia 20510
Dear Senators Alexander and Murray,
On February 14, 2018, America witnessed one of the deadliest mass shootings in our nation’s history when fourteen students and three faculty members were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooting was a sober reminder that mass shootings, including school shootings, and gun violence more broadly, are persistent threats that affect children, teachers, and families across this country.
According to the New York Times, since December 2012, when 20 first graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, there have been at least 239 school shootings. These shootings have left 138 dead and thousands of students, families, and communities traumatized. These young lives were taken far too soon, as a result of a preventable tragedy. These statistics are emblematic of our country’s larger epidemic of gun violence. A recent study in Pediatrics found that on average, almost 1,300 children die each year from gun-related injuries. Out of all children and youth ages 0 to 24 killed by firearms in countries participating in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), over 90 percent are in the United States.
In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and across the country have organized in their communities to try to bring about change. In the words of student Emma Gonzales, “If us students have learned anything, it’s that if you don’t study, you will fail. And in this case if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it’s time to start doing something.” It is time for Congress to start doing something.
As Senators, it is our responsibility to address gun violence like the public health crisis that it is, investigate the causes of these deadly acts of violence and hatred, and make policy changes to ensure that they no longer happen. Doing so necessitates hearing from survivors of gun violence and others who have been affected, including students, parents, and teachers. It also requires hearing from experts who can speak to how public health research and interventions could support our efforts to end school shootings in this country.
Therefore, we request that you hold a hearing as soon as possible to examine the causes and remedies for mass shootings, including school shootings, across the country. Thank you for your consideration to this important topic.
Christopher S. Murphy
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Margaret Wood Hassan
Michael F. Bennet