House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) Monday following the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, which occurred at a concert in Las Vegas late Sunday night. Pelosi said, in response to the tragedy, that Congress must pass legislation to strengthen background checks and establish a “Select Committee on Gun Violence to study and report back common sense legislation to help end this crisis.”
“Today, our nation woke up to news of the worst mass shooting in our history,” Pelosi wrote, “claiming the lives of at least 58 innocent men and women in Las Vegas. Nearly 12,000 Americans have been killed by guns in 273 mass shootings in 2017 – one for each day of the year. On average, more than 90 Americans lose their lives to gun violence every day, a daily toll of heartbreak and tragedy in communities across America.”
“Congress has a moral duty to address this horrific and heartbreaking epidemic,” she said.
She called on Congress to “pass the bipartisan King-Thompson legislation to strengthen the life-saving background checks that keep guns out of the wrong hands,” but added, “this is only a first step.”
“I urge you to create a Select Committee on Gun Violence to study and report back common sense legislation to help end this crisis,” she wrote. “The bipartisan committee would make recommendations to prevent unspeakable tragedies such as the mass shooting in Las Vegas and to restore confidence in the safety of our communities.”
She called today “a day for prayer, mourning and love," but said, "it must also be a day for action.”
“As Members of Congress, our words of comfort to the families of the victims of the Las Vegas massacre will ring hollow unless we take long overdue action to ensure that no other family is forced to endure such an unimaginable tragedy,” Pelosi said.
The shooting at a Las Vegas concert Sunday night left over 50 dead and over 500 injured. Many other prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, immediately called for increased gun control in light of the shooting.
Police are continuing to investigate a motive and how the shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, obtained the weapons used in the shooting.