Two of Colorado’s congressional members, Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette, spoke out during a 24-hour sit-in by U.S. House Democrats who demanded a vote on measures they believe will help curb gun violence.
The sit-in was unprecedented and was led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a hero of the Civil Rights movement.
Below are speeches from Reps. Perlmutter and Degette, weighing in on gun legislation that would bar terrorists on the no-fly list from buying firearms and provide more background checks.
This morning, Perlmutter read the names of Colorado victims of gun violence.
House Republicans shut off C-SPAN’s camera feed and microphones, leading members of Congress and their allies to use social media to get their message out. Video of DeGette’s speech comes from Periscope, via her office.
“What kind of an institution would shut down the microphones of the people who are trying to represent their constituents,” DeGette said, thanking her colleagues for streaming the sit-in live on various platforms.
As Slate’s Jamelle Bouie, points out, “Everything about this is controversial. Republicans see it as little more than a ‘stunt’ aimed at curtailing constitutional rights.”
Meanwhile, he added:
Civil libertarians are dismayed that Democrats want to use the much-criticized terror watch list—marred by bias and rendered suspect by a lack of due process—to limit gun ownership. And some liberals are worried that this only escalates political conflict. “How will Dems cheering the sit-in react if a year from tonight it’s House Republicans sitting in to block President Clinton’s agenda,” said MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki on Twitter. He continued: “Dems talk about an anti-Trump wave giving HRC a Dem House to work with. Now here’s a tactic R’s could use if they’re back in the minority.”
On Monday, members of the U.S. Senate voted on four amendments to tighten up gun legislation, none of which passed.
Perlmutter represents Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, which encompasses the northern parts of Denver and Aurora. DeGette represents the 1st Congressional District, which covers the city and county of Denver and its suburbs.
Colorado has three Democratic U.S. House members. Jared Polis of Boulder is the third, who is out of town this week. Colorado’s Republican Congressmen are Scott Tipton, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman. Republicans have the majority in Congress.
9News in Denver rounded up statements from each of them on how they would vote on the two gun control bills.
Buck said the Democratic sit-in was blocking legislative movement on helping pregnant women who have the Zika virus. Tipton said the focus should be on national security and counter terrorism efforts.
“Don’t turn off the mics anymore, keep the cameras on,” Perlmutter said from the floor this morning. “America wants a real debate. They want us to vote on this subject.”
[Photo credit: Pavel Koucký via Creative Commons on Flickr]