Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging her colleagues to support the Background Check Expansion Act. This bill would require a background check for every firearm sale, closing the existing loophole that allows private sellers to sell guns without such a check.
Almost two years ago, hundreds of people were wounded and 58 were killed in my hometown of Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
It remains the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Two weeks later, I delivered my first official address on this Senate floor. I called for action to prevent the next mass shooting.
Among other things, I asked for universal background checks on firearms.
Americans support these laws virtually unanimously—97 percent of them want sellers to look closely at who exactly is trying to buy a gun.
Yet the Background Check Expansion Act to close loopholes on background checks hasn’t received a vote in this chamber.
Neither have dozens of other vital pieces of legislation that would make us safer.
You know, Republican leadership is perfectly happy to stop the Senate from voting on these laws. Senator Mitch McConnell has jokingly called himself the “Grim Reaper” whose job is to bury legislation.
But the American people don’t find it funny.
And the mothers and fathers of children who have died as a result of gun violence aren’t laughing.
Nor is my hometown of Las Vegas, a community that is still healing from the pain of that night.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In the state of Nevada, we’ve closed the loophole that lets private sellers skip background checks before they hand over a gun.
I’m so proud of my state. Voters in Nevada approved this commonsense reform in 2016.
And thanks to newly-elected Governor Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford and our fierce leaders in the Nevada State Legislature, we finally made it law.
This is just basic, common sense.
It’s supported by Americans throughout the political spectrum, in households with and without guns.
I support the Second Amendment. We own guns in my family!
My husband is former federal law enforcement. And I come from a family of sportsmen.
Almost every American agrees: we need to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, violent criminals, domestic abusers, and others who may pose a threat to themselves or their communities.
Nevada, with a strong Western history of self-reliance and a culture of safe, responsible gun ownership, has done this.
It’s long past time for the Senate to do what the House has done—and what the American people demand—and pass commonsense gun reform.
The Senate Majority Leader must stop putting roadblocks in the way and let us act.
We can’t take back what happened that day in Las Vegas. Or Orlando. Or Sandy Hook. Or Charleston.
Or so many cities and towns all across this nation scarred by mass shootings and daily gun violence.
We can’t heal the pain of those whose friends or family members were killed.
We can’t erase the trauma that so many survivors continue to endure.
But we can save lives in the future.
And isn’t one life saved worth it?
Let’s stop the delays and denials and excuses. Let’s pass this bill.