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.
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
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
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.
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!
As of July 2023, there has been no movement on the assault weapons ban legislation, S.25, in the Senate.
Not a single Republican came out to visit the sit-in.Help Support Efforts Like This Sit-In