Reid Remarks On The Anniversary Of The Newtown School Shooting

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“They were six and seven years old. But although their years were few, the lives they touched are many.”

“I am proud of how hard my caucus fought this year to pass safeguards that would keep guns out of the hands of felons and people with severe mental illnesses. I am proud of my vote to keep military-style weapons and large ammunition clips off the streets… But at a time when more than 30,000 Americans are killed by guns each year, it is shameful that the United States Senate can’t pass gun safety legislation that would protect our most vulnerable citizens – our children.”

 “I promise the families of the 26 innocents killed a year ago in Newtown – and the 173 children killed by guns since December 14, 2012 – that Senate Democrats will not give up on them… I promised the families of Newtown a meaningful conversation about how to change America’s culture of violence. I want everyone within the sound of my voice to know that the conversation is not over.”

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today observing the one year anniversary of the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Tomorrow Newtown, Connecticut and our nation will pause to remember the 20 little boys and girls and six dedicated educators whose lives were taken by an unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Their names: Allison, Avielle, Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Noah, Jack, Emilie, Caroline, Jessica and Benjamin. They were six and seven years old. But although their years were few, the lives they touched are many. As it did a year ago, my heart goes out to the families of these little angels, and to all those affected by the tragedy in Newtown.

And I honor the ultimate sacrifice of Victoria Soto, Dawn Hocksprung, Mary Sherlach, Lauren Russeau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy – teachers and educators who died trying to safeguard the children in their care. These six educators devoted their lives to teaching Newtown’s children how to read and write, how to add and subtract, how to be good girls and boys, and how to grow into good men and women. And they gave their lives to keep those children safe. They are a source of hope in a world that sometimes seems hopeless.

It is hard to comprehend the type of tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary, let alone to recover from it. But I am inspired by the families of Newtown, who have found purpose in the face of despair.

There is a Tibetan saying that, “tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.” The Dalai Lama says that whatever trouble you have experienced, and however deep your heartbreak, “if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”

The families of Newtown have channeled their pain into activism, raising awareness about gun violence and mental health issues in this country. I have met with them several times, and their bravery in the face of such pain is truly an inspiration to me.

I am proud of how hard my caucus fought this year to pass safeguards that would keep guns out of the hands of felons and people with severe mental illnesses. I am proud of my vote to keep military-style weapons and large ammunition clips off the streets and to improve our mental health safety net. But at a time when more than 30,000 Americans are killed by guns each year, it is shameful that the United States Senate can’t pass gun safety legislation that would protect our most vulnerable citizens – our children.

So I promise the families of the 26 innocents killed a year ago in Newtown – and the 173 children killed by guns since December 14, 2012– that Senate Democrats will not give up on them. We will not give up on the victims of 26 school shootings that have occurred since the Newtown massacre – including one in Sparks, Nevada that took the life of a teacher and injured two students. And we will not give up on the families and friends of those gunned down at a movie theater in Colorado and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and a shopping mall in Oregon – and every day on the streets of American cities.

Last December I promised the families of Newtown a meaningful conversation about how to change America’s culture of violence. I want everyone within the sound of my voice to know that the conversation is not over. The American people will prevail. And I urge the families and friends of those killed in Newtown to never lose hope.

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