Kathleen Williams made these remarks on May 18 at the Democrats Truman Dinner in Yellowstone County, the same day when ten more people were gunned down in the United States because they went to school. We need more candidates with the courage that Williams is showing here because the gun lobby and their enablers are not going to give up easily; we need to challenge their defense of unfetttered access to guns and a regulatory system that is less rigorous than what we impose on children’s toys.
The NRA and its rabid adherents are in the minority. Americans generally and Montanans specifcally want sensible regulation of guns and to bring an end to the carnage.
Normally at these events I talk about my background, my priorities, and what it will take to take back this seat. But tonight I think it’s important to start with what happened this morning south of Houston.
Ten people – mostly students – murdered because they showed up to high school, and many others whose wounds – physical and mental – will last the rest of their lives.
One student interviewed on the scene said: “I wasn’t surprised it happened here. It has been happening everywhere.”
Enough is enough. Every child deserves to feel safe at school. And every parent deserves to know that their child will come home safely from school. But in 2018, there has been one school shooting in America per week.
Greg Gianforte will send his thoughts and prayers, or nothing. And he’ll say it’s not time to talk about gun safety reforms. But now is the time. Yesterday was the time. The day before Parkland was the time. The day before Sandy Hook was the time. The day before Columbine was the time. We need to stop the massacres.
I was in Helena a few weeks ago, being interviewed by the New York Times. They came out to do a story on guns in a red state. After the reporter turned off his tape recorder, a man who was sitting behind us approached and thanked me for having the courage to talk about this issue. He grew up north of town on a ranch. Looking at him, I’d guess he wasn’t a Democrat. And he was shy; I could tell it was hard for him to say that. But he knew this conversation is long overdue.
Our next Representative in Congress must have courage and experience: courage to open an adult dialogue on tough issues and the experience to craft practical solutions. We don’t need research. We don’t need platitudes. We don’t need just thoughts and prayers. We need to talk about regulating military style rifles. They are more lethal than sawed-off shotguns, which America regulated in the 1930’s in response to mob violence.
We need to talk about background check loopholes. We need to talk about expanded protections for victims of domestic violence, so that these horrific cases, like in Bozeman, where one woman was hunted down and shot while hiding in the closet of her own home, don’t happen again.
I’ve stood firm on this issue. I’ll continue to do that. And if the gun lobby wants to give me an ‘F’ for talking about common sense, I’ll proudly say that stands for “fearless.”
I’m Kathleen Williams. I’m the only Democrat running for Congress with legislative experience and a record of getting results for all Montanans. I’m a Jon Tester or a Steve Bullock style Democrat: one with experience, able to work with people of all political stripes and win in November. In Congress, I’ll protect Medicare and Social Security, fix healthcare, preserve our natural heritage, return civil dialogue to a broken Congress, and restore our place in the world. You can read all about my platform at kathleenformontana.com
Most importantly, when you send me to Congress, I will always have the courage and independence to do what’s right for you and all Montanans.