On February 6, 2019, the House of Representatives held its first hearing on gun violence in eight years. The room was packed with victims and survivors of gun violence and members of the student GVP group March For Our Lives. One survivor present was Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin (“Guac”) was killed in the Parkland, Florida shooting on February 14, 2018.
The hearing addressed H.R. 8, a bill to require universal background checks on all private gun sales save transactions between immediate family members. Yet Matt Gaetz, a Republican Congressman, used the hearing to launch into an angry and ugly rant about “illegal aliens” and Trump’s border wall.
“I hope we don’t forget the pain and anguish and sense of loss felt by those all over the country who have been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens,” Gaetz lectured gun violence victims and survivors in the room. “HR 8 would not have stopped [mass shootings], but a wall, a barrier on the southern border may have, and that’s what we’re fighting for.”
The room immediately erupted in outrage and jeers. Manuel and another Parkland survivor, Fred Guttenberg (who lost his 14 year-old daughter Jaime in the shooting), rose to their feet and shouted at Gaetz to stop. Gaetz responded by saying more offensive things (“If we really cared about safer streets, we would build the wall and secure the border”) and attempted to have security guards remove Manuel from the room. House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler told Gaetz no. You can watch video of the incident here.
Please contact Matt Gaetz through one of the channels below and give him the following message (personalized to your liking):
How dare you lecture victims and survivors of gun violence about your malicious fantasy of “illegal aliens” and Trump’s “border wall”? Then you have the nerve to point at a gun violence survivor and try to have him physically removed from the room? EVERYONE in the room was outraged by your insensitive, politically-motivated comments. You are corrupt and disgusting. The reason you launched into your ridiculous tirade on behalf of your NRA and White House masters is because you have no legitimate argument against the policy of universal background checks. You’re a fraud and see-through. I had never heard about you before the hearing on H.R. 8. Now I’m going to do everything democratically in my power to make sure you never are elected to political office again.
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL-1st)
Phone: (202) 225-4136
Email via webform (use Zip Code 32504): https://gaetz.house.gov/contact
Additionally, if you have the means to do so, please donate to Matt Gaetz Democratic opponent in 2020 through terminally ill activist Ady Barkan’s Crowdfund page at:
Once you have contacted Matt Gaetz, fill out the three fields below and click the orange banner to report taking action!