Tell Congress:
"Pass the Assault Weapons Ban"

From June 6 to June 12, 2023, our board member, Sam Schwartz, led a first-of-its-kind Survivor Sit-In for 7 days and nights at the U.S. Capitol to demand a vote on the federal assault weapons ban bill.

Sam's Story

My name is Sam Schwartz. My cousin and best friend Alex Schachter was killed by a 19-year-old with an AR-15 while sitting at his desk at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine's Day in 2018.

For five years, I have been fighting for a federal assault weapons ban and I have seen little to no progress. Now, more and more Americans are getting hunted and killed by shooters with weapons of war that were legally purchased. I have been to DC numerous times to share my story with countless members of Congress to change their hearts and minds but they simply don't care.

I am so sick and tired of waking up and learning that there has been another mass shooting, and then seeing absolutely nothing being done about the murder weapon. That is why I sat-in at the U.S. Capitol for 168 hours to demand a vote in both houses of Congress for a federal assault weapons ban. This is an accountability vote to expose who is stopping this bill from passing and putting guns over children's lives. We must force Congress to give us a vote on the assault weapons ban bill so we will know exactly which members of Congress are owned by the gun lobby and which ones will stop arming mass shooters.

This is a fight for not only your children's lives, but your brother's, sister's, parent's, and even, yourself. We are all at risk. Please trust me when I say I never thought gun violence would affect my life. Don't wait until it destroys yours too.

Me and my cousin Alex

Sam, Hart Senate Office Building

Rep. Lucy McBath

They were joined by many members of Congress, who showed their support and rallied with the survivors. Members signed a pledge vowing to push for a vote on the ban.

Sam and the other survivors shared their stories with lawmakers.

Rep. Salud Carbajal

Lawmakers signed the pledge

Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Summer Lee

Rep. Mike Thompson

Rep. Joaquin Castro

Sen. Cory Booker

Rep. Jared Moskowitz

Sen. Jon Ossoff decided during the sit-in to cosponsor the Senate bill.

Rep. Greg Landsman

Rep. Mike Quigley

Rep. Jamaal Bowman

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

Sen. Jeff Merkley

Rep. Dan Goldman

Rep. Lois Frankel

Rep. Jimmy Gomez

Sam continued to document the historic event and encourage supporters to join.

Survivors came from around the country

Manuel Oliver, father of a Parkland shooting victim, Joaquin

Gwendolyn La Croix, mother of gun violence victim, Jonah

Citizens stopped their day to call lawmakers and make their voices heard

Brett Cross, father of Uvalde school shooting victim, Uziyah

Laura Dern and her daughter Jaya Harper

Gays Against Guns

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer refused to meet with the survivors. Sam and Jaya delivered a letter instead, urging him to call a vote on the bill.

Chairman Dick Durbin has the votes to pass the AWB bill in the Judiciary Committee. We flooded his office with calls and filled up his voicemail.

Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi invited Sam and other survivors inside and promised to call Leader Schumer and Chairman Durbin about moving the bill.

After seven long days and nights, we capped off the sit-in with a press conference, joined by Reps Eric Swalwell and Rashida Tlaib.

We thank the following legislators who joined our sit-in and committed to calling for an assault weapons ban vote:

Representatives Jamaal Bowman, Salud Carbajal, Joaquin Castro, Rosa DeLauro, Lois Frankel, Maxwell Frost, Dan Goldman, Jimmy Gomez, Jeff Jackson, Hank Johnson, Greg Landsman, Summer Lee, Lucy McBath, Jared Moskowitz, Ilhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi, Dean Phillips, Ayanna Pressley, Mike Quigley, Pat Ryan, Jan Schakowsky, Eric Swalwell, Mike Thompson, and Rashida Tlaib

Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ben Ray Lujàn, Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders, Chris Van Hollen, and Elizabeth Warren

We will never stop fighting until the assault weapons ban bill passes and becomes the law of the land.

The Aftermath

The day following the sit-in, House Democrats filed a discharge petition aimed at closing the Charleston loophole, requiring universal background checks, and banning assault weapons

Now the Senate must do their job and follow suit. Leader Schumer must put the bill on the floor for a vote immediately, regardless of the outcome. The American people deserve to know which Senators stand with arming mass shooters with weapons of war and which stand with ending mass shootings!

Not a single Republican came out to visit the sit-in.

In December of 2023, Senate leadership introduced the AWB bill on the floor for a Unanimous Consent vote. Republicans immediately blocked the bill. The Democratic-led Senate showed the country they are doing everything they can to prioritize gun safety legislation that will save lives, while Republican Senators continued to show they are beholden to the corporate gun lobby.

Help Support Efforts Like This Sit-In