“There isn’t anyone in this institution or anywhere else in public life whose political survival is more important than the survival of our children and the safety of our communities,” she said at a press conference Monday alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats. “We are not taking ‘no’ for an answer, and we are not going away.”
Pelosi pointed out that the vast majority of Americans are in favor of background checks on all sales of firearms and outraged by Republican lawmakers’ inability to get on board with the measure.
“What courage does it take to support legislation that will save lives?” she asked before taking a jab at McConnell, whom she called the “Grim Reaper.”
“So here we are, once again asking the grim reaper, informing the Grim Reaper that these bills are alive and well in the public,” Pelosi said.
“Some of the gun violence prevention groups have upped the ante even further to say that if this bill is not passed, Mitch McConnell and Republicans in the Senate and the president will have hell to pay,” Pelosi added. “So let’s save time.”
Nan Whaley, the Democratic mayor of Dayton, Ohio, was also present at the conference, representing the city where a mass shooting killed nine people last month and injured 27 others.
“I’m here on behalf of the citizens of Dayton who called us that night to do something,” Whaley said. “This is something that can be done, can be fast and will save lives.”
The Dayton massacre came less than 24 hours after a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and injuring 26.
The universal background checks bill cleared the House in February but has since stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.