Garamendi Says “Give Us a Vote” on House Floor during Sit-In for Gun Safety Legislation

Congressman John Garamendi in a recent appearance in Davis
Congressman John Garamendi in a recent appearance in Davis

It has captured much of the political attention nationally. Congressman John Garamendi, who represents Davis and much of Yolo County, on Wednesday joined a number of 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.

Congressman John 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.”


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26 thoughts on “Garamendi Says “Give Us a Vote” on House Floor during Sit-In for Gun Safety Legislation”

    1. David Greenwald

      It doesn’t ring hollow, it’s transparently an election year tactic to see if they can force a vote or at the very least raise an issue for the electorate for the fall. I can’t figure out if you are actually at the same time more or less cynical than I am.

  1. zaqzaq

    It rings hollow as the legislation they want a vote on was not passed after a vote in the Senate.  It is only a crass publicity stunt which impedes the ability of the house to move forward with other matters.  He is also ignorant concerning his statement about California gun laws.  We used to have an assault weapon ban but it was chipped away until it is virtually nonexistent.  If he wants to cite California laws then we need to fix the assault weapons laws in this state.  I would love to see Congress pass legislation that would require states accepting federal funding to have mandatory minimum enhancements for using or possessing a gun in the commission of a crime.

  2. Tia Will

    BP and zaqzaq

    Well, I think that if you are going to argue that this “rings hollow”, you would also have to agree that all of those many, many attempts to repeal Obamacare also “rang hollow”. So either one thinks that symbolic efforts to call attention to a matter are legitimate, or one does not believe that they are. It does not work for one side, but not the other.

    1. Barack Palin

      How many GOP issues were denied votes by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?  The Dems shouldn’t complain when they get the same treatment.

    2. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Well, I think that if you are going to argue that this “rings hollow”,

      > you would also have to agree that all of those many, many attempts to

      > repeal Obamacare also “rang hollow”.

      It would be nice if we could focus on the current topic rather than almost every time having Tia and others on the left or Frankly and others on the right point out that “the other side” is just as bad or worse.  We could spend the rest of the day talking about how the GOP keeps wasting time with the SIXTY THREE (63) joke votes on getting rid of Obamacare (when if they really wanted to end it they could cut funding for it and it would be gone).  Other than a few crazy right wingers who read nothing but RNC talking points everyone knows that the GOP (like ALL politicians) engage in “political theater” trying to manipulate voters and the media.  Today I think the most interesting angle is how the Democrats got the sit in going to get the media to talk about anything but Trump’s recent speech that points out a lot of negative stuff about their presumed Democratic presidential nominee.

      1. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        Today I think the most interesting angle is how the Democrats got the sit in going to get the media to talk about anything but Trump’s recent speech that points out a lot of negative stuff about their presumed Democratic presidential nominee.”

        And here I was just about to congratulate you on a well balanced comment with criticism of both sides and the tendency to deflect from the current topic. And then, you just couldn’t help but fall into exactly the same trap that I did.

        Here’s to all of us restraining ourselves and remaining on topic.


  3. Tia Will


    Agreed that one should not complain about tactics used by one’s own side. But then I only saw you addressing the behavior of one side when these issues clearly apply to both.

  4. nameless

    Acting like a bunch of schoolyard bullies is not the way to run Congress, on either side.  Individual states need to pass tougher gun control laws.

    1. South of Davis

      nameless wrote:

      > Individual states need to pass tougher gun control laws.

      I know it makes people “feel good” to vote for gun control laws (kind of like it makes people “feel good” to vote to end Obamacare) but I’m wondering if anyone really thinks that even a complete gun ban (like the complete ban we have on crystal meth) will stop criminals who want guns from getting them (last time I checked anyone that wants crystal meth or any other illegal drug can get it).  Do some people think that these “tougher gun laws” might be the one “tough” law that criminals don’t want to break (they might be OK breaking the law against taking a gun to a bar and the law against killing 49 people, but the new “tough” law against a detachable magazine over 10 rounds will make them stay home)?

      1. Eric Gelber

        SOD: Thanks for reviving the bumper sticker argument that “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” By the same argument, we might as well repeal laws prohibiting crystal meth because the laws are violated by criminals. Would a ban on, say, assault weapons eliminate them entirely? Of course not. But should we do something about absurdly easy access to such lethal weapons of mass murder that have no legitimate civilian purpose? Of course we should.

      2. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        I agree with your statement that criminals will still get guns if they are determined to do so. But this begs a major point for those of us whose concern is prevention of gun injury in total, not just harm caused by criminals. Lack of easy availability of guns and /or the potential for “smart gun” legislation could go far in preventing non criminally intended gun injuries and deaths such as children accidentally shot by a sib or playmate, a parent shot by a child ( two mother’s shot by their toddler children within the past couple of years, one fatally), suicide by gun, guns in the hands of the mentally unstable or those acting out of hate who have no previous criminal record. For most of the shooters in these mass shooting episodes, there was no previous criminal record. They were law abiding citizens…..right up until the point when they started shooting innocents.

        1. The Pugilist

          The problem I have is this notion that people are binary – criminal/ law-abiding.  The problem with that view is a lot of the people who end up going on mass shootings are not in fact “criminals” up until the point when they start shooting.  So the question may not be about criminals being able to get guns, but rather making it more difficult for troubled people to find them for when that moment comes.

      3. nameless

        To answer your question, no I don’t think gun control is going to make much of a dent in crime.  But perhaps we have to enact some simple reasonable things like closing gun show loopholes and outlawing the sale of multiple bullet magazines to make that point?

        1. wdf1

          Statistics regularly show that the U.S. among developed nations has the highest rates of gun violence, and clearly policies that make guns more accessible.  How do explain that?  No causation?  Crappy police enforcement?

  5. WesC

    Since shooters are almost exclusively male how about a law that states males  shall only be able to handle a gun when in the company of a responsible adult female and the responsable adult female shall maintain possession of any ammunition at all times.



  6. The Pugilist

    I’m laughing at the response by Barack Palin, it’s as though only the other side practices politics.  In this day and age, you have to do something dramatic to get the issue raised about the din.  Well done on that.  Failed on getting the bill through despite a majority of votes.

    1. Barack Palin

      And I’m laughing at DP’s response.  Here we have Democrats and liberals all in a huff because the GOP won’t take a vote but it’s precisely the same tactics that the Democrats have been employing for years.  The “h” word comes to mind.

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