WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) opened today’s hearing on gun violence by expressing his deepest sympathy to those who lost loved ones in the recent tragedies in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York. Ranking Member Comer emphasized all Americans should be empowered to defend themselves against rising violence and called for solutions to secure our schools, protect the most vulnerable, and bring perpetrators to justice.
Ranking Member Comer warned against leftist proposals that undermine Americans’ Second Amendment right, underscoring it is an important tool to secure individual rights to self-defense. He also blasted efforts to defund the police and soft-on-crime prosecution policies that divert violent criminals out of the criminal justice system. Ranking Member Comer concluded by calling on elected officials to recommit themselves to pursuing justice and keeping violent criminals off our streets.
Below are Ranking Member Comer’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.
To those who are here testifying before us today, there are no words to describe the horror you have faced and the deep anguish you feel. The American people grieve with you.
As elected representatives in Congress, it’s our obligation to work to ensure that these violent crimes and tragedies never happen again.
Americans of all backgrounds should be empowered to defend themselves against rising violence.
The increased violence we have witnessed since the summer of 2020 is unacceptable. Murders and aggravated assaults are all up. This is a trend we must work to reverse.
We have recently witnessed several high-profile senseless acts of murder and mayhem that have impacted all Americans – including, tragically, our defenseless and innocent schoolchildren.
We must respond to those heinous acts and provide justice for the families. At the same time, we recognize that violence occurs in many of our communities on a daily basis, impacting Americans across the United States from every background.
Too often tragedies are politicized for partisan gain, and we have seen many seek to leverage these crimes and their victims to push for radical left-wing policies or to buttress their campaigns to get elected.
Instead of rushing to score political points at the expense of our justice system working properly,
we must learn from these senseless acts of violence and take concrete action to reduce violence in the future.
We owe it to the families of the victims. They deserve justice, and we owe it to the American people. We must and can prevent similar tragedies.
We all want to live in a country where we can achieve our American Dream without the threat of violence in our communities.
We must work together to deliver sensible solutions to secure our schools, protect the most vulnerable among us, and bring to justice those responsible for these heinous crimes.
Our local officials cannot defund our police and our prosecutors cannot be soft on crime.
I believe that we must carefully consider the security posture of vulnerable targets sought out by evil people. We must ensure that every American has a safe environment in which to live their lives in peace.
And that requires thinking creatively about solutions to harden our infrastructure, enforce our existing laws, and work to foster a culture that values conflict resolution and dialogue over violence.
I strongly believe that there is an important place for law-abiding gun owners to serve in protecting themselves, their families, and their communities from violence.
Our Second Amendment is an important tool in securing our individual rights to self-defense. Kneejerk reactions to impose gun control policies that seek to curtail our constitutional right to bear arms are not the answer.
Gun ownership is on the rise in America. People want to protect themselves and their families.
We should commend all law-abiding gun owners who safely use, store, and carry those firearms, not vilify them for blatantly political purposes.
I also believe we must continue to empower our law enforcement professionals to serve and protect our communities honorably.
As I said before, defund the police and soft on crime prosecution policies have been a failure across the board.
Efforts to divert violent criminals out of the criminal justice system have failed, leading to the victimization of the very communities those policies were promised to help.
Violent criminals should be in jail, not back on the streets to reoffend and terrorize.
We must recommit ourselves to pursuing justice and keeping violent criminals off our streets.
Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney, and I yield back.