Watson Coleman Requests Votes in Lieu of Moment of Silence for Trenton Mass Shooting

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Washington, June 19, 2018 | comments

In a letter sent today to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) requested recognition for victims of Sunday’s shooting at the Art All Night festival in Trenton in the form of votes on gun violence prevention legislation instead of observing a moment of silence on the House floor.

“After the tragedies that have claimed lives in cities across the country, most recently Las Vegas, Parkland, Santa Fe, and Sutherland Springs, we tend to stand quietly in the midst of our normally busy votes to honor lives lost, memorializing their names in our records. But the American people want more — specifically, commonsense steps aimed at preventing incidents like these in the first place,” Watson Coleman wrote.

The shooting, which took place early Sunday morning, left 22 injured and one dead. The letter lists more than 70 proposals that have been introduced but not yet scheduled for debate, including two proposals from Watson Coleman, The STOP Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2017 and the Handgun Licensing and Registration Act.

Watson Coleman recently called for action from the floor of the House, shouting “your moment of silence doesn’t save one single solitary life. Do something!” following a moment of silence observed for victims of the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

The full text of the letter is available here and below:


June 19, 2018


The Honorable Paul D. Ryan


U.S. House of Representatives

H-232 The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Speaker Ryan:


Early Sunday morning, my congressional district became the most recent scene of a mass shooting when 22 people were injured and one was killed at a 24-hour art festival in Trenton. Like dozens of Members before me, I write this letter to draw attention to this incident and ask for recognition of these victims. Unlike other Members, I would like to request a vote in the House in lieu of any moment of silence.


The scourge of gun violence continues to terrorize all of our constituents, whether they are at work or school, shopping for groceries, playing in parks, or attending community events like Art All Night, the festival at which Sunday’s shooting in Trenton took place. After the tragedies that have claimed lives in cities across the country, most recently Las Vegas, Parkland, Santa Fe, and Sutherland Springs, we tend to stand quietly in the midst of our normally busy votes to honor lives lost, memorializing their names in our records. But the American people want more — specifically, commonsense steps aimed at preventing incidents like these in the first place.


I have participated in protests; I have spoken on the House floor; and I have signed letters and petitions calling for votes on gun violence prevention proposals. As my constituents deal with the aftermath of Sunday’s shooting, I urge you to act before any more lives are lost. There are a host of proposals that, with your leadership, could help us find a bipartisan solution to one of our nation’s greatest threats. I have introduced two bills, The STOP Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2017 (H.R. 3962) and the Handgun Licensing and Registration Act (H.R. 5607), each of which would help prevent more tragedies. There are also dozens of other bills that seek to address the various angles of this multifaceted problem, including:


H.R. 4142 — The Safer Communities Act of 2017

H.R. 4290 — To require the Attorney General to study whether an individual’s history of domestic violence can be used to determine the likelihood of such individual committing a mass shooting.

H.R. 163 — Gun Manufacturers Accountability Act

H.Res. 367 — A Resolution Establishing the Select Committee on Gun Violence Prevention

H.R. 4471— NICS Denial Notification Act of 2017

H.R. 4186 — Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act

H.Con.Res. 66 — Expressing support for the designation of June 21 as
National ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day to promote children's health and gun safety

H.R. 810 — Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2017

H.R. 2033 — Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act

H.R. 2841 — Disarm Hate Act

H.R. 3984 — Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act

H.R. 3013 — Help Communities Fight Violent Crime Act

H.R. 3947 — Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act

H.R. 3361 — SECURE Firearm Storage Act

H.R. 4018 — To provide for a 3-day waiting period before a person may receive a handgun, with exceptions.

H.R. 4342 — Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act

H.R. 1692 — Countering Illegal Firearms Trafficking to Mexico Act

H.R. 1111 — Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2017

H.R. 4343 — Unlawful Gun Buyer Alert Act

H.R. 4025 — Multiple Firearm Sales Reporting Modernization Act of 2017

H.R. 5560 — Defective Firearms Protection Act

HH.R. 4344 — End Purchase of Firearms by Dangerous Individuals Act of 2017

H.R. 3987 — Protecting Americans from Gun Violence Act of 2017

H.R. 1475 — Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2017

H.R. 5087 — Assault Weapons Ban

H.R. 5383 — Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018



H.R. 1612 — Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2017

H.Res. 380 — Commemorating one year since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016.


H.R. 5077 — Assault Weapons Ban of 2018

H.R. 1708 — Firearm Risk Protection Act of 2017

H.R. 5257 — Secure Communities and Safe Schools Act

H.R. 5225 — Strengthening the National Criminal Instant Background Check System Act of 2018

H.R. 1832 — To authorize the appropriation of funds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for conduction or supporting research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention.


H.R. 4052 — Keep Americans Safe Act

H.R. 5461 — NICS Review Act of 2018

H.R. 2380 — Handgun Trigger Safety Act of 2017


H.R. 5490 — Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act

H.R. 4786 — Protecting Communities from Lost or Stolen Law Enforcement Weapons Act of 2017


H.R. 4268 — Gun Safety: Not Sorry Act of 2017

H.R. 361 — Supporting the goals and ideals of
“National Gun Violence Awareness Day” and
“National Gun Violence Awareness Month”


H.R. 5106 — Investor Choice Against Hun Proliferation Act

H.R. 4650 — PROTECT Act

H.R. 4573 — Gun Violence Research Act of 2017

H.R. 4192 — Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Prevention Act of 2017


H.R. 2670 — Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act

H.R. 5161 — To require the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to
submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on public health.

H.R. 1478 — Gun Violence Research Act

H.R. 3458 — Make Identifiable Criminal Rounds Obvious Act


H.R. 5162 — Firearms Safety Act of 2018

H.R. 2784 — Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act

H.R. 5090 — Raise the Age Act

H.R. 5163 — Keeping Guns from High-Risk Individuals Act

H.R. 4721 — Armor-Piercing Bullets Act of 2017

H.R. 2598 — Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017

H.R. 57 — Accidental Firearms Transfers Reporting Act of 2017

H.Res 373 — Expressing support for the designation of June 2017 as “National Gun Violence Awareness Month” and calling on Congress to address gun violence

H.R. 5398 — 21 to Buy Act

H.R. 62 — Gun Violence Reduction Resources Act of 2017

H.R. 3613 — Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act of 2017

H.R. 630 — National Statistics on Deadly Force Transparency Act of 2017

H.R. 1982 — To authorize funding to increase access to mental health care treatment to reduce gun violence

H.R. 2757 — Public Health Violence Prevention Act

H.R. 4433 — Securing Department of Homeland Security Firearms Act of 2017

H.Res. 370 — Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to require
that a standing committee (or subcommittee thereof) hearing be held whenever
there is a moment of silence in the House for a tragedy involving gun violence


H.R. 4153 — To amend title 18, United States Code, to improve safety and security for service weapons used by Federal law enforcement officers, and for other purposes.


H.R. 5103— Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act of 2018

H.R. 3207 — Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act

H.R. 445 — Buyback Our Safety Act

H.R. 1079 — Campus Gun Policy Transparency Act

H.R. 4240 — The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2017


H.R. 1746 — Airport Security Act of 2017

H.R. 1983 — David’s Law

H.Res 666 — Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to
observe a 60-second moment of silence in the House for those killed by
gun violence in the United States on the next legislative day after any such individual dies.

H.Res. 90 — Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that gun violence is a public health issue and Congress should enact by the end of the 115th Congress comprehensive Federal legislation that protects the Second Amendment and keeps communities safe and healthy, including expanding enforceable background checks for all commercial gun sales, improving the mental health system in the United States, and making gun trafficking and straw purchasing a Federal crime.






Each of these bills could be part of the larger solution needed to prevent gun violence. Just as important, their debate and consideration would show that this body is willing to work toward protecting our constituents. In contrast moments of silence are not solutions and they do nothing to address the problems facing our communities. They do not acknowledge the destructive and lasting impact of gun violence, nor the immense pain felt by the families and friends who’ve lost loved ones.

I urge you to allow Congress to debate and vote on any or all the above bills. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request, the desires of my constituents, and the safety of all Americans.



Member of Congress



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