Rep. John Garamendi's speech began by asking where the Speaker of the House was, as he looked at the empty chair. It was a funny moment, but his speech rapidly turned darker and more passionate.
I single out Garamendi here, but as I write, Rep. Alcee Hastings gave an amazing speech too, as have many others.
The message is the same: Enough is enough. Give an up-or-down vote on gun safety laws.
You can call 202-224-3121 to express your support.
Updated with transcript, thanks to Sarah P!
"Mr. Speaker...Where the hell are you? Come back to your chair, Mr. Speaker....it;s your responsibility...give us a vote...Mr. Speaker, the 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 capital in early January of 1989. I got a phone call...he said "you won't believe it, you won't believe it...they're dead...an AK-47 in the hands of a crazy, not a crazy, just somebody that had the machine to kill the (I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE IS SAYING) refugees. Children that had escaped the violence of Vietnam, on a school grounds, they were shot. I visited some of them i 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 we woken up in the morning to the newspapers about yet again another drive by shooting? It's not just Chicago...it's in my community. 753 people murdered with guns in the last year. It's all across America.
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 and 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!