Swalwell Joins, Broadcasts Democratic Sit-In Demanding Votes on Gun Violence Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) on Wednesday joined dozens of his fellow House Democrats for a sit-in on the House floor to demand that Speaker Ryan and House Republican leadership allow a vote on bipartisan legislation to address gun violence.
The sit-in – led by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (GA-5) – came amid continued Republican obstructionism following last week’s act of hate and terror in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Democrats demand votes on the bipartisan King-Thompson legislation to expand and strengthen our background checks system, and on the bipartisan “No Fly, No Buy” bill to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.
Republican leadership has refused to allow such votes, and turned off the House chamber’s cameras Wednesday to prevent C-SPAN from airing the sit-in. Swalwell and other Democrats responded by using Periscope, Facebook Live, Snapchat, Twitter and other platforms to honor Americans’ right to see their Congress in action.
“All any victim’s family expects is that we do the most that we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. No one here on the floor thinks we’re going to reduce every instance of gun violence. But damn it, isn’t that why we came here – to try?” Swalwell said at the sit-in’s podium. “We may not take evil out of every heart, but we are the place in the world … where we can reduce the amount of weapons that are in evil hands.”
House Republicans have voted 13 times to block consideration of the bipartisan ‘No Fly, No Buy’ legislation. Senate Republicans did likewise this week.
“Although there are only Democrats on the floor right now, there are a lot of seats in this chamber, there’s a lot of room on this floor for our Republican colleagues to join us once again,” Swalwell said during the sit-in. “Because the American people don’t care who gets the credit. I’m calling on my Republican colleagues, come on down and let’s start with the basic idea that if you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun. And then we can work from there.”
“The victims of gun violence will not get a break next week in their grieving,” he continued. “The people who are ravaging our communities with guns, they will not take a break next week from carrying out more murder and more wrath. So if they are not going to take a break, we should not take a break. Mr. Speaker, if there is no bill, there should be no break.”
Click here for video of Rep. Swalwell’s remarks.