Roll Call: One Dollar, One Name to Recognize Gun Violence Victims
When Rep. Robin Kelly rose to speak on the House floor Thursday morning, she carried a list of 50 names — all victims of gun violence.
“I’ve begged — I’ve pleaded — I’ve screamed — I’ve cried and I even ground the People’s House to a halt with last year’s historic sit-in,” Kelly said.She then proceeded to read the names.
As she told each person’s story, she placed a dollar in a box next to her.
“One dollar — one name,” Kelly said. “One dollar — one grieving family. One dollar — one lost American.”
Kelly plans to tell the stories of 5,950 Americans killed by guns. The reason for that number? It’s the dollar amount the National Rifle Association donated to House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2016.
Kelly says Republican House leaders continually thwart legislative efforts on gun violence by refusing to hold votes on those bills. She points to pressure from the NRA as the reason Ryan won’t act.
Addressing Ryan in her speech, Kelly said “money matters more to you than these American lives.”
The victims Kelly spoke about today came from all across the nation: Kelly’s district, Ryan’s district, as well as victims of several mass shootings.
“I don’t want the gun violence prevention issue to get lost because there are people dying everyday,” Kelly said. “Whether its by themselves in more urban areas or in mass shootings. I just want the issue to still be prominent.”
The Congresswoman from Illinois is no stranger to the issue of gun violence. Her district includes part of Chicago, which saw a surge in homicides in 2016 and during the beginning of 2017.
President Trump has suggested sending federal authorities to Chicago in response to the uptick in shootings. Kelly says Trump should visit the city to “meet people in the trenches trying to do something about it.”
For her part, Kelly has introduced several bills dealing with gun violence as well as legislation to create opportunities for at-risk youth. The Congresswoman partnered with Sen. Dick Durbin earlier this year to introduce two bills that would address youth unemployment in high poverty areas. She says legislation like this prevents violence.
Moving forward, Kelly would like to see a vote on legislation expanding background checks. She points to a 2015 bill sponsored by Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) as an example of bipartisan legislation that should have received a vote.
The King-Thompson bill would have required background checks on all commercial gun sales, such as those made at gun shows, over the internet or through classified ads. It also would have prohibited the government from creating a federal gun registry.
Kelly says she will continue her efforts until gun control legislation is brought to a vote.
“At least one bill,” Kelly said. “Let’s get this started.”