Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Norcross, Ed & Workforce Committee Democrats Urge Hearings to Examine School Shootings

Feb 16, 2018
News Release

WASHINGTON, DCCongressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) and all of the Democratic Members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce sent a letter to Chairwoman Virginia Foxx requesting hearings before the full Committee to examine school shootings. This request comes after Wednesday’s tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where at least 17 students and faculty died as a result. In response, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has called on Congress to hold hearings on this issue.

“[Secretary DeVos] stated pointedly that ‘we have got to have an honest conversation, and Congress has to lead on this.’ Madame Chair, we are wholly in agreement with Secretary DeVos in this respect,” the Members wrote. “We stand ready to lead and do our job with regard to this difficult subject.”

“When I offer my thoughts and prayers after a tragic mass shooting, I know that is not enough. I will continue to fight to bring gun safety measures up for debate and for a vote. It is shameful that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle refuse to do the same,” said Congressman Norcross. “I am fed up. There are simple, common-sense things we can do right now to help save American lives: We can ban assault rifles, stop suspected terrorists from buying weapons, strengthen background checks, close loopholes, allow for proper gun violence research and end gun trafficking. Our children’s lives depend on it. I demand action now.”

Norcross has been fighting for gun safety measures in Congress for years. In addition to strongly opposing concealed carry legislation that moves our country in the wrong direction in December 2017, he introduced a Resolution demanding action on gun violence on June 2, 2017, joined Camden residents at a March Against Gun Violence on April 18, 2017, joined civil rights icon John Lewis in Camden to discuss gun violence on September 19, 2016, issued a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to place limits on the ability of convicted domestic abusers to obtain firearms on July 27, 2016, participated in a sit-in calling for House leadership to bring gun safety measures up for a vote on June 22, 2016, demanded that Congress take immediate actions to address gun safety on June 17, 2016, urged colleagues to close the terror loophole on March 17, 2016, called on Congress to close the terror loophole on January 6, 2016 and joined New Jersey Democrats in urging House leader to save lives on October 5, 2015.

The full text of the Committee’s letter sent today follows:

Dear Chairwoman Foxx:

We write to request hearings before the House Education and the Workforce Committee regarding school shootings.  As you know, per House Rule X, our Committee has jurisdiction over “education … generally.”  More specifically, the Committee Rule 2 (a) clarifies our oversight over “school safety” and other issues.

Wednesday’s preventable tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, resulted in the deaths of at least seventeen students and faculty.  Sadly, since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School five years ago, more than 430 people have been shot in over 230 school shootings.   Despite the sobering reality, our Committee has not had a hearing to address this public health epidemic since February of 2013.

Yesterday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos remarked during a radio interview that “Congress needs to be holding hearings on these issues.”  Secretary Devos called for us to examine this issue and “impact the future.”  She stated pointedly that “we have got to have an honest conversation, and Congress has to lead on this. It’s their job.”

Madame Chair, we are wholly in agreement with Secretary DeVos in this respect.  We stand ready to lead and do our job with regard to this difficult subject.  To that end, we respectfully ask that you schedule hearings to examine the issue of school shootings.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12)
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester (DE-AL)
Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Congresswoman Susan A. Davis (CA-53)
Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)
Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11)
Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03)
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08)
Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Congressman Jared Polis (CO-02)
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP)
Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03)
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)
Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41)
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24)

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Contact: Ally Kehoe, Communications Director
ally.kehoe@mail.house.gov