Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report) – For the first time in eight years, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing today, Wednesday February 6, 2019, to discuss HR8: Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The bill was introduced by Representative Mike Thompson from California’s 5th District and has nine bipartisan co-sponsors. The essence of this common sense gun solution is basic and universal, a background check for every firearm sale, making it difficult to imagine anyone having a contrasting position. But as the morning progressed, there was soon heated debate, shining light on the sharp division this emotional issue triggers.
Survivors of gun violence, family members of those killed by gun violence, gun control advocates, NRA supporters, and gun rights promoters gathered together with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) and the Judiciary Committee to hear witness testimony discussing whether background checks were a common sense solution in keeping Americans safe, particularly school children. Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School massacre survivor Aalayah Eastmon, spoke of her personal trauma over classmate Nicholas Dworet dying while saving her life:
“After our presentations we began to hear loud pops,” Eastmond said. “When the gunman shot into our classroom, Nicholas Dworet was in front of me.
“The gunman’s bullets killed him and Helena Ramsay. As Nicholas fell, I matched his every movement and hid underneath his lifeless body as bullets riddled my classmates.
“I thought I was going to die,” Eastmond said.
Ranking Member Collins summed up the GOP-NRA argument in opposition to HR8 in his opening statement: “[The] greatest cruelty in the world is to tell people you will help them in their situation through legislation that will do nothing to fix the problems that you claim to fix. In legal terms, that’s called fraud.” Collins didn’t provide any data to support his claim that HR8 background checks “will do nothing,” “nothing” being a hyperbolic word choice, when clearly background checks will curb gun violence. Curbing is not curing, though. No one is claiming background checks to be the cure. Regardless, Collins’ misleading assertion to insist fraud, appears to be his pro-NRA strategy to weaken bipartisan support for the bill, indicating how concerned NRA supporters are that the bill may be approved in the Judiciary Committee and sent to the floor of the House for a vote.
The show-stopper was Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who tried to use his five minutes to twist the validity of the arguments in support of background checks, asking how background checks would stop violent crimes by illegal aliens. Gaetz claimed that the only real solution for any violent crime anywhere in America was a border wall. The father of Joaquin Oliver, killed in the February 14, 2018 slaughter in Parkland, reacted to this absurdity by jumping up and protesting. Mr. Oliver was reminded that he was a guest of the Committee, and guests were not allowed to speak, and certainly not protest. Representative Jeffries tried to alleviate the tension by asking whether a Committee member was allowed to provide false information during the hearing. Everything snowballed after that with Gaetz threatening to throw Mr. Oliver out of the hearing. Interestingly, in 2008, Gaetz was arrested for DUI, so appears to have a scar in his background that may prevent him from owning a gun.
Millions of Americans across the country were grateful for the hard work and perseverance Representative Thompson exerted in his effort to make this hearing possible, emphasizing the merit of… never, ever give up.