Nadler Floor Statement for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

Washington, June 24, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler today delivered the following remarks, as prepared, on the House floor in support of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938):

“I would be remiss, Madam Speaker, if I did not comment on the decision of the Supreme Court, just minutes ago, to revoke the constitutional right to abortion—a right that millions of Americans have relied upon for half a century.  And, worse, Justice Thomas has indicated that this is merely the beginning of a radical, right-wing effort to roll back other rights—including the right to contraception, the right to marry whomever we choose, and the fundamental right to privacy.
“And we should observe that the same Justices telling us today that questions about reproductive rights must be left to the states told us just yesterday that the states cannot be trusted to regulate modern firearms—weapons that were never dreamed of by the Framers of the Second Amendment.  History will prove these activists wrong on both counts.
“But today, Madam Speaker, we take a historic first step toward ending the epidemic of gun violence in this nation—the only developed nation with this problem.
“We come to this moment after the tragic loss of so many innocent lives: 10 African Americans in Buffalo, targeted because of their race; 19 young students and 2 teachers in Uvalde, just a few days short of their summer vacations; scores more lost in other mass shootings too numerous to mention; and over 100 more Americans killed every day in gun violence that never makes the headlines.
“No piece of legislation can ever bring these lives back.  No legislation can make their families or their communities whole.  But we can act to keep others from facing the same trauma they have endured.
“A few weeks ago, I was proud to bring forth the Protecting Our Kids Act, which took a bipartisan and comprehensive approach to ending gun violence.  I am pleased that the Senate incorporated portions of that bill into their own legislation.  I wish there was more.  I wish that we could say we were doing everything we could to prevent another parent from losing their child to gun violence. 
“But I am proud that we are making an important start today.
“This cannot be the last step, but we also cannot let another day go by without taking action to make our communities safer and to keep even one more family whole.
“Recently, I have turned to a particular teaching in the Talmud: “Whoever takes one life, it’s as if he kills the entire world, and whoever saves one life, it’s as if he saves the entire world.”
“This legislation includes provisions that will save many lives.  Like the Protecting Our Kids Act, it includes funding to implement extreme risk protection laws and a prohibition on straw purchasing.  It also strengthens background checks for those under 21, makes more sellers responsible for conducting background checks, takes steps to address the boyfriend loophole, and provides significant funding for programs that will make our communities safer.
“Today, we will send legislation to the President’s desk—for the first time in decades—that will make progress toward ending the scourge of gun violence.
“I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and I reserve the balance of my time.”