Swalwell and District Attorney Nancy O’Malley Host Member of British Parliament to Discuss Gun Violence
OAKLAND – Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Pleasanton) and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley hosted Patrick Grady, Member of the British Parliament, on Saturday at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse to discuss gun violence issues.
The event, highlighting the nations’ differing attitudes on gun ownership and violence, featured a display of dozens of firearms used in violent crimes in Alameda County.
“I’m so glad we had this opportunity to talk about the vast contrast in gun violence between the United States and the United Kingdom,” Swalwell said after the event. “It’s important to know how the world sees our problem, and what lessons we might learn from other nations’ experiences.”
Grady, 36, was elected in 2015 as the Member of Parliament for Glasgow North. An advocate of Scottish independence, he shadowed Rep. Swalwell on Saturday as part of an educational visit to the United States.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many guns, even at a military history display in a museum. It’s very sobering and it brings home the reality of the situation,” Grady said during the event. “You see some of these weapons and think, ‘What on earth would you buy that for?’”
Scotland is subject to strict gun ownership laws enacted after a gunman killed 16 students, a teacher and himself in 1996 at Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, Scotland.
Scottish police forces recorded a total of 374 offenses in 2013-14 in which firearms – mostly imitation firearms and air weapons – were allegedly involved; only 43 of those led to injury or death. In contrast, Oakland alone saw 72 shooting homicides in 2014; there were 1,169 in California that year, and 8,124 across the United States – with many thousands more assaults, robberies and other crimes involving firearms.
O’Malley spoke of an Oakland mother who was shot to death in 2015 while shielding her two children from a gang-related gunfight. “Too many people get caught in the crossfire.”
She also said U.S. law enforcement officers run the risk of being outgunned.
“We can’t just keep escalating the firepower – we have to really address the guns in our community and do our best to get those off our streets,” said O’Malley. “It’s not about stopping people from owning guns, it’s just making sure that people who own guns are the people who should.”
Last month’s widely publicized House floor sit-in marked the start of House Democrats’ latest push for votes on bipartisan, commonsense gun violence prevention bills. H.R. 1217, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, would expand the federal background check system to cover all firearm purchases. H.R. 1076, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, would close the loophole that allows terrorist suspects to legally buy deadly weapons.
“The notion that something as simple as that wouldn’t be allowed a straight up or down vote is astonishing,” Grady said of H.R. 1076.
Click here to view archived Facebook Live video of the discussion.