Thursday September 28th, 2023

Cortez Masto Commemorates 1 October Mass Shooting on the Senate Floor

Floor 09

FTP for TV stations of her remarks is available here.

“Even in our darkest hour, we are Vegas Strong. We are resilient. And together, we will work to make sure this kind of tragedy never happens again.”

Washington, D.C. – Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) took to the Senate floor today to commemorate the upcoming 6th anniversary of the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017.

Cortez Masto honored the memory of hero Erick Silva, who gave his life that day saving others.

Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

M. President, 6 years ago, my hometown of Las Vegas experienced the worst mass shooting in modern American history. One gunman took the lives of 58 people that night. Two more people died later from their injuries. Thousands of families will never be the same.

On October 1, 2017, at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, tens of thousands of people were listening to live music, dancing, and enjoying the festivities. That was until the gunfire started.

In a matter of minutes, the gunman fired over 1,000 bullets into the crowd, leaving 58 dead and hundreds wounded. 2 more concertgoers died from their injuries in the aftermath.

The shock, the horror, the pain all come flooding back, even now. I will never forget sitting with families at the Reunification Center in Las Vegas, praying that they would hear good news. Not all of them did.

Too many lives were taken far too soon.

If not for the heroes of that day, who put their own lives on the line to save others, even more lives would have been lost.

Heroes like Erick Silva.

Erick was from Las Vegas, he attended Las Vegas High School, and after he graduated, he had plans to become a police officer. In August 2017, he celebrated his 21st birthday. He would never celebrate another.

Less than two months later, on October 1, Erick was working as a security guard at the festival. When the gunfire started, Eric ran into the crowd to help, boosting concertgoers over a barricade and toward the exit.

He gave his life saving others’.

I remember speaking with Erick’s mother, Angelica, at his funeral. Her whole world had been turned upside down. But she knew, her son died a hero.

Erick would have been 27 this year. Every year, Angelica celebrates her son’s birthday with friends and family to remember Erick’s life and honor his memory.

Angelica is making sure her son and his heroism are never forgotten.

We will never forget.

We will never forget Erick and the 59 others who lost their lives to senseless gun violence.

We will never forget all those who put other people’s lives over their own that day.

We will never forget the hundreds of concertgoers who are still dealing with injuries, and the thousands who are still coping with trauma from the terror they witnessed that night.

And we will never forget the first responders, the health care workers, and the everyday Nevadans who dropped everything to help save lives in the aftermath.

Because even in our darkest hour, we are Vegas Strong. We are resilient. And together, we will work to make sure this kind of tragedy never happens again.

In Nevada, we’ve taken action to do that, passing comprehensive background checks and red flag laws, as well as banning the bump stocks used in the Route 91 shooting. That’s at the state level, but we can do that for the whole country in Congress while improving mental health funding nationwide.

We can pass our bipartisan bill to outlaw bump stocks that turn guns into high-capacity killing machines. These devices aren’t used for recreation. They’re only used to commit mass violence. Let’s get rid of them.

We can pass comprehensive background checks to make sure criminals can’t exploit loopholes to buy dangerous weapons. The vast majority of Americans support this!

I’m proud of the work we did to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act last year. That was historic legislation to curb gun violence and fund mental health programs. We did that working across the aisle – so we can and we must do more.

We owe it to Erick, to the families of the fallen, to the people whose lives this heartbreaking tragedy has touched, and to Americans across the country. Let’s come together in a bipartisan way and put action behind the words “Never forget.” Until we do, we are at risk of history repeating itself.



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