March 14, 2018

Van Hollen Joins Maryland Students at Rally to Stop Gun Violence

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) spoke to students from Maryland and across the area who marched to the U.S. Capitol as part of the national school walk out against gun violence. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“To the students of Maryland, to the students of this region, to students all over America – we have a simple message to all of you, which is: know your power. You can change the direction of America. You are not only the future of America, you are the conscious of America, and you are here to ask America to do the right thing. You are here to say that it is unacceptable in America for students to be slaughtered in their schools. It is wrong in America for people to go to concerts and end up in carnage. And it is unacceptable in America to see the daily toll of gun violence on streets throughout our country.

“Earlier this morning, on the floor of the Senate, Senator Cardin and I read the names of victims of gun violence in Maryland, including 17 young people – people under 20 – who were victims in Maryland just in the last year. People from all over our state, like people all over the country, are crying out and saying we are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!

“We’ve got to get assault weapons off of our streets, we have to have universal gun background checks. The answer is not more guns in schools. Teachers should be armed with knowledge, not with weapons.

“Now just the other day, over at the White House, when the cameras were on, the Chief Executive asked who’s afraid of the NRA? Well we found out that he was afraid of the NRA. But are you afraid of the NRA?

“We need to make sure that every Member of Congress – Republicans, Democrats, people of all political stripes – are more afraid of the next school massacre, that they’re more afraid of the next death on the streets in our country, more afraid of that than they are afraid of the NRA.

“And you, the student movement – you, the student movement are what’s going to make it happen. You’re what’s different this time. And so I have one simple question – because the NRA and the gun lobby and the cynics, they’re counting on all of you to just go away after today.

“Are you going to go away?

“Are you going to be back here on March 24th?

“Are you going to make sure we fight every week, and every month, and every year until we have a safe America?

“Let’s go get them!”