Debbie Dingell’s #nobillnobreak Speech [transcription]

This is a transcription of @RepDebDingell’s words on the House floor during #nobillnobreak, live streamed and recorded on Periscope by @ScottPetersSD

I saw a number of tweets about Representative Dingell’s speech this evening. I found it in the middle of the Periscope stream below. I was deeply moved by the intelligence, authenticity and subtlety of what she said.

Periscope felt too transient for the world of wisdom, power, and experience — both as legislator and victim — that Representative Dingell conveyed, so I decided to transcribe it to preserve it. I highly recommend watching her speak it.

Here it is — it starts ~7:50:

— Colin

I’ve been on the floor for 12 hours, and I can’t believe… I never thought I’d sit on the floor of the House of Representatives. It’s been a tough day in some ways, but it’s also been a great day.

You know, when Orlando happened, and last night I have to say to you I sat with Amy Klobuchar, who I am working on a domestic abuse gun bill with and said “It’ll never change. We’re all going to say isn’t it terrible, we’ll offer our prayers and we’ll go back to normal, whatever the normal is we’ve come to accept, and wait until the next shooting.”

And yet today, we’ve shown that that’s not what’s going to happen. We also always let the big things, and as so many of my colleagues have talked about, we don’t focus on what’s happening every day, we don’t focus on the daily shootings or how our young people are beginning to accept that that’s just what happens. And we don’t focus on what’s happening and who has access.

I feel this house is torn in a way that I feel torn. I’m married to a man, you all know how much I love John Dingell. He’s the most important thing in my life. And yet for 35 years there’s been a source of tension between the two of us. He is a responsible gun owner. He believes in the Constitution. I respect — I don’t want to take his gun away or anybody else’s gun.


But I lived in a house with a man that should not have had access to a gun. I know what it’s like to have a gun pointed at you and wonder if you were gonna live. And I know what it’s like to hide in a closet and pray to God “Do not let anything happen to me.”

And we don’t talk about it, we don’t want to say that it happens in all kind of households, and we still live in a society where we will let a convicted felon, who is stalking somebody of domestic abuse, still own a gun.

[standing applause]

I have a million thoughts as I sit in front of you here today. I have constituents who get labelled, who are on a no fly list and may not be right. I do not want a terrorist to have access to a gun — but how can we protect somebody’s civil liberties if you won’t come to the table and have the discussion about how you keep us safe?

The point of this discussion is that we’ve gotta stop going to our corners. We’ve gotta stop spouting talking points.

But we’ve gotta come and figure out how we’re gonna make this nation safer. How we’re not gonna accept the violence that we’re seeing every day. How we’re not gonna let people have access to guns that shouldn’t have access to guns. And we’re not gonna do it until we start to change the dialogue, till we come to the table and we have the discussion.

So we’re here on the floor to say enough is enough.

I didn’t talk about what I grew up with for many years. It took Newtown, and I went and I wrote an Op-Ed, people knew I didn’t like guns, I probably even said as a child some really stupid things. Although many of you would probably would agree with some of what I’ve said.

I can’t stay silent any longer. We have to do something. I’ve never seen us as united as we are today. I love my husband with my whole heart and soul, he doesn’t know I’m standing here right now.

And I love my Republican friends. I have many. I love you all. Can’t we come to the table, can’t we have a discussion? Can’t we say enough is enough? Can’t we have a vote?

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