On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on gun violence in 8 years.
Since the last hearing, which was held in 2011, hundreds of people have been killed in mass shootings across the nation:
- Sandy Hook Elementary – 26 killed
- Route 91 Harvest Music Festival – 58 killed
- Washington Naval Yard – 12 killed
- Parkland High School – 17 killed
And that doesn’t even begin to cover the thousands of others killed by guns. In 2017, there were nearly 40,000 gun deaths – the largest number on record according to the CDC. And according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, there have already been 5,041 gun violence incidents and 1,347 gun deaths in 2019.
This has resulted in a growing movement to prevent gun violence. Gun control groups outspent the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the 2016 midterm elections. Doctors took to Twitter to speak out against the NRA with #thisisourlane. State legislatures passed 69 gun control measures in 2018. And the Trump administration banned bump stocks.
Unfortunately, it would seem that momentum isn’t universal. According to a video posted by Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland High School mass shooting in 2018, the majority of House Republicans left after only 15 minutes of today’s hearing.
“For those like me who believe in gun safety, watch this video and understand that those who left are disinterested in our safety,” Guttenberg posted.
The hearings are about 15 minutes in and the majority of the Republican side already left. For those like me who believe in gun safety, watch this video and understand that those who left are disinterested in our safety. pic.twitter.com/EiOIeTq8fx
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) February 6, 2019
In addition to the empty seats, Representative Matt Gaetz attempted to have Manuel Oliver, father of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, ejected from the hearing.
This is beyond despicable. pic.twitter.com/YZF8EGW3hP
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) February 6, 2019
According to Mother Jones reporter Kara Voght, the incident began when Gaetz stated that a border wall, not background checks, would prevent gun violence. Both Oliver and Guttenberg shouted at Gaetz in protest.
As @mattgaetz says walls to keep out immigrants, not background checks, will address gun violence, the Parkland parents are *NOT* having it. @fred_guttenberg and @manueloliver00, who lost their children in Parkland, screamed as Gaetz spoke. Capitol police almost booted them.
— Kara Voght (@karavoght) February 6, 2019
However, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) allowed the parents to stay after a stern warning.
Big Easy Magazine will have more on this story as it develops.