Cornyn: ‘Number One Responsibility’ of Federal Government Is to Keep Americans ‘Safe and Secure’

By Melanie Arter | April 16, 2013 | 1:41 PM EDT

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)

( – Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), in responding to the Boston Marathon attacks, said Tuesday that “the number one responsibility of the federal government is to keep the American people safe and secure.”

“Yesterday afternoon we were reminded that America faces determined enemies willing to engage in barbaric acts against innocent civilians – men, women, and children,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor, during debate on the gun bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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Cornyn called for a “firm and unequivocal” response to the attack.

“We must send a clear message that we will never compromise our value or our freedom in the face of terrorist violence,” the majority whip said.

Bostonians responded to the attack “with courage and compassion,” Cornyn said.

“As the smoke rose, the American people saw their fellow citizens running toward – not away, but toward – the scene of the blast,” he added.

The attacks “brought out the very best in our country,” from emergency responders, medical professionals and police officers “to marathon participants, who literally ran to hospitals to donate blood,” and area residents “who opened their homes to those who had been left stranded,” Cornyn said.

“In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the bombings, so many people rushed to donate blood that the Red Cross literally had to turn them away,” he added.

“We must stay on the offensive against the enemies of civilization and remain vigilant in our day-to-day lives. The victims of Boston deserve nothing less,” Cornyn said.