Congressman Alan Lowenthal will lead a discussion on gun violence tonight as part of a national day of action.
After joining congressional colleagues in a historic 26-hour sit-in last week, Congressman Alan Lowenthal will join Mayor Robert Garcia and other advocates for gun violence prevention in a special community forum, hosted tonight at Long Beach City Hall.
Members of the Brady Campaign and Moms Demand Action are slated to participate in tonight’s discussion on the gun violence issue that has continued to play out across the country. The event is part of a National Day of Action called for by the Brady Campaign, which aims to hold members of Congress accountable for having stalled gun-reform votes, keeping them from being voted upon on the House floor.
The sit-in was inspired by the events in Orlando, Florida, where a man armed with an assault rifle entered into a gay nightclub and killed 49 people and injured over 50 more in the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history. The Democrat’s Civil-Rights era tactics disrupted House official business, which resulted in some chaotic moments where some legislators had to be physically separated from each other and chants of “No Vote, No Break” drowned out Ryan’s gavel.
Members of the Brady Campaign stood in support while Lowenthal and other Democratic members of Congress staged the sit-in on the House floor, demanding that Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan allow for proposed legislation to be voted on. The bills were aimed at expanding background checks and preventing people on the country’s no-fly list from acquiring firearms.
"The feckless politicians who, buckling to the corporate gun lobby, snuck out of the people's house at three in the morning to avoid a vote on lifesaving bills are in for a rude awakening,” said Brady Campaign President Dan Gross in a statement issued today. “They think they can rush out of work to start their vacation early while 90 of their constituents die every day? Hell no. Brady is going to hold you accountable, either here in Washington or at home in your district.”
Lowenthal, like many other Democratic legislators who protested for a vote before the House adjourned for the Fourth of July recess, gave an impassioned speech on the House floor on the need for gun reform to curb gun violence in the country. He cited the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln before reading Walt Whitman's “O Captain, My Captain,” the poet's ode to the death of Lincoln.
“We will be silent no more; we will speak up for America,” Lowenthal said after reciting the poem. “We demand action; we demand the bill; we demand that debate.”
Earlier today, the congressman joined other House Democrats and elected officials in Los Angeles for a panel discussion aimed at stopping gun violence. Keith Higginbotham, communications director for Lowenthal’s Long Beach office, said that while no legislation will come from tonight’s community forum, the congressman felt it was important to hear from the people he represents as they voice their concerns over the issue and how they'd like to see them addressed.
“I think Alan [Lowenthal] wants to hear what people have to say,” Higginbotham said. “What are their thoughts on this? He and a lot of the Democratic members, I think, sense that there was some kind of shift after Orlando in the zeitgeist and they want to hear that. They want to hear that from people and this is really important to them.”
The meeting is scheduled to run from 6:00PM-8:00PM inside the city council chambers.