Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi Says “Give Us a Vote” on House Floor During Sit-In for Gun Safety Legislation

June 22, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City, CA), today joined Democrats in the House of Representatives for a sit-in to raise awareness about the Republican House leadership’s refusal to allow a vote on gun safety legislation. The Congressman identified two specific reforms that are overwhelmingly supported by the American public: universal background checks for all gun purchases and stopping suspected terrorists on the ‘no fly’ watch list from purchasing weapons.

Full video of his remarks is above. A transcript is below.

Congressman Garamendi said:

“Mr. Speaker, where the hell are you? Come back to your chair, Mr. Speaker. Take your responsibility, and give us a vote. Give us a vote today. Give us a vote on a little bit of safety for our people here in America. Mr. Speaker, your chair is empty. I don’t believe your heart is empty. I believe you care about Americans. I believe you care deeply about the violence in our country.

“I was in my office at the California State Capitol in early January of 1989. I got a phone call from my staff in Stockton, California. Said, “You won’t believe it. You won’t believe it. They’re dead. On the school ground. Dead.”

An AK-47 in the hands of a crazy, not a crazy, just somebody that had the machine to kill Vietnamese refugees, children that had escaped the violence of Vietnam – on a school ground, and they were shot.

I visited some of them in the hospital and the holes in their bodies were as big as my fist. That horror movie has been repeated across America over and over and over and over again. Mr. Speaker, give us a vote. Give us the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to do our responsibility for the safety of Americans.

How many times, how many times have you woken up in the morning to the newspaper about yet another drive by shooting. It’s not just Chicago, but god help those. It’s in my community. 753 people murdered with guns in the last year. It’s all across America. Mike Thompson, thank you for your work putting together the safe gun legislation.

Mr. Speaker, take your chair. Give us a vote on the safe gun legislation. Universal background checks. What’s wrong with that? Where did we go amiss? What is radical about that? Nothing! The American people want it. The American people want universal background checks.

California has some of the most rational gun safety laws in the nation and yet you can cross the border into Nevada and you can buy damn near anything. We need a universal background check for every state in this nation so that all of us can be protected. Are we ready for that, Mr. Speaker?

Come back to your chair. Come back to your chair and lead us, Mr. Speaker, to the path to safety for us, for all of us, for all of our citizens. The insanity that we should have a ‘no fly’ list for terrorists and suspected terrorists. You can’t get on an airplane, but more than 2,000 people on that list have been able to buy a gun. This is not only crazy; it is downright dangerous.

Mr. Speaker, where are you? Where are you, Mr. Speaker? Are you willing to lead? Are you willing to keep Americans safe? Or are you hiding Mr. Speaker from the responsibility and duties that this House gave you? We want a vote. We demand a vote. And we’ll be here until we get a vote, Mr. Speaker.”