Quick Takes on the News: Judiciary Committee Holds First Hearing on Guns in Years. It Doesn't Go Well.

Plus: Where the vacancies are.

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Feb. 6, 2019, 8 p.m.

The fur flies at House hearing on guns

It didn’t take long for tensions to boil over Wednesday at the House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing on gun violence in eight years.

Conflict immediately erupted between Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Republican members. Ranking member Doug Collins was concerned that Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot at baseball practice in 2017, had not been allowed to testify; the chairman responded that too many members of Congress had wanted to speak.

Emotions escalated as March for Our Lives activists, who filled the hearing room and then some, gave Parkland survivor Aalayah Eastmond a standing ovation when she finished speaking.

Nearly half of the Democratic committee members joined in; Republicans remained in their seats while Nadler struggled to bring the room to order.

But the biggest outburst was yet to come. While criticizing H.R. 8, a bipartisan background-check bill, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz brought up murders committed by undocumented immigrants.

“H.R. 8 would not have stopped any of the circumstances I raised, but a wall, a barrier at the Southern border, may have,” Gaetz said, before audience members began yelling at him.

“My daughter was killed by an American man,” shouted Fred Guttenberg, father of murdered Parkland student Jaime Guttenberg.

“This is a hearing for members of Congress and for the witnesses; everyone else is here as an observer and must not participate in any other way,” Nadler said.

“Point of parliamentary inquiry,” interjected Democratic Rep. David Cicilline. “Are members of Congress entitled to just make things up in support of specious arguments?”

The audience again burst into applause. Nadler banged his gavel to no avail, but did not remove anyone from the hearing room.—Mini Racker

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and ranking member Doug Collins at a hearing on gun violence Wednesday AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
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