The House held its first hearing on gun violence in eight years on Wednesday, an emotional event that featured speeches from relatives of gun victims and school shooting survivors.
Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee could be seen wiping tears from their eyes during testimony. That was not the case, however, for Republicans at the hearing.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tried to get the parent of a Parkland victim removed from the hearing room, then began ranting about “illegal aliens” and shouting “if we really cared about safer streets, we would build a wall and secure the border.”
When Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) — the House Judiciary’s chairman — attempted to swear in the panel’s speakers, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) objected that Nadler had omitted the words “so help me God,” and asked him to repeat the oath.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was murdered in the Parkland school shooting last year, noted that most Republicans on the panel left the room roughly 15 minutes into the hearing.
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
Freshman lawmaker Lucy McBath (D-GA), whose son who was shot and killed in 2012, recounted details of the shooting, carried out by a man whose car was parked near one with her son and some of his friends.
The gunman opened fire after objecting to the volume of the music being played in their car. “The pain of losing a child to gun violence never ends,” she said at the hearing.
McBath also explained how the Parkland shooting inspired her to run for Congress.
Aalayah Eastmond, who like many Parkland survivors has become a gun control advocate since the shooting, recounted the massacre at her school almost exactly one year ago, telling the committee, “We are the generation that will end gun violence.”