On Wednesday’s broadcast of “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC, Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis invoked the civil rights movement to rally support for increased gun control legislation.
“Well, now is the time to act,” Lewis said. “It’s not a time for a commission, or more studies. It is time for action. It reminded me of another period, 1968, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Robert Kennedy was assassinated. We can go back to 1963, when Medgar Evers was assassinated. We don’t need more weapons of mass destruction. Nothing saddened me more than last Friday. I cried, I cried when I saw what was happening in Connecticut.”
“These little children, these innocent little babies being slaughtered — if we don’t have the courage to act as members of Congress, as federal officials, then we’re not worth the position that we hold. We have to act, and we must act now. We cannot put it off. The CDC and my own congressional district have conducted studies over the years on gun violence. Take some of those studies off the shelves, but members of Congress, you hold the courage to stand up and speak out and pass the necessary legislation. We cannot wait and we shouldn’t wait.”
Lewis lobbied President Barack Obama and his congressional colleagues to act before children are “slaughtered.”
“Well, the White House must lead,” Lewis said. “The president must lead. Members of the House must lead. Members of the United States Senate must lead. We must be a headlight on this issue and not a taillight. When you see these little children, these little babies, being slaughtered, we have to act. I don’t want to shed anymore tears. I don’t have any tears left.”
The congressman conceded, though, that the Sandy Hook shooting also raised questions about the nation’s mental health crisis.
“It’s not all guns,” Lewis said. “We must bring the issue of mental illness out into the sunlight, out of the shadow, out of the closet, deal with it, treat people, have centers where people can get the necessary help. But we can start by dealing with the issues of guns. There’s too many guns. The British are not coming. The Russians — the Russians are not coming. The British are not coming. We don’t need all these guns to kill people.”