The House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on gun violence in 8 years on Wednesday. The first witness was a senior at the Parkland, Florida, high school where a lone gunman killed 17 people almost one year ago.
Aalayah Eastmond spoke of scars — both physical and emotional — that survivors of the attack “will carry for the rest of our lives.”
“Gun violence ends thousands of lives every year,” she said. “It is an epidemic that extends well beyond high-profile shootings,” adding that “gun violence is such an epidemic that anyone, anywhere, at any time can be affected. Rich or poor, white, black, young or old.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 6, 2019
The committee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, declared that ”For far too long, Republicans in Congress have offered moments of silence instead of action in the wake of gun tragedies. That era is over.”
The committee discussed mandatory background checks for gun purchasers, an idea rejected by the only Republican to attend the hearing, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Although the Parkland shooter was born and raised in the United States, Gaetz insisted that the solution to gun violence is to build the border wall sought by President Trump to keep out foreign migrants.
Gaetz then got into an argument with two fathers of Parkland victims and tried — unsuccessfully — to have the men ousted from the hearing room.
Manuel Oliver and Fred Guttenberg are heroes, and have lived through enough trauma without @RepMattGaetz being too immature to handle constituents voicing their disagreement with his positions https://t.co/AvO3f8QvBz
— Emma González (@Emma4Change) February 6, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the bill on background checks a common-sense measure, citing polls that found 97 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun sales.
Other gun-control proposals include restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines and a measure to permit law-enforcement officers to temporarily take guns from people considered likely to endanger themselves or others.
Unfortunately, a lot of Republicans decided to skip the hearing Wednesday.
Republicans can't even be bothered to show up for a hearing on gun violence.
Tells you everything you need to know about how much they care about a problem that kills nearly 40,000 people every single year. pic.twitter.com/VqRrF1IwJv
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) February 6, 2019