U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell answered questions at the Livermore Farmers Market on Aug. 8 and described his positions on several issues, including gun violence.
The Democrat who represents California’s 15th Congressional District pointed out his support of banning silencers and his willingness to consider buying weapons back, unlike some on the presidential debate stage.
Swalwell said he’s hopeful change on the issue is coming. He mentioned the NRA-backed Republican Congressman Mike Turner, of Dayton, Ohio, who voted against background checks a few months ago, but now supports them and a ban on assault weapons. After the last midterm election, the House of Representatives passed a measure to require background checks. Now, Swalwell said, it’s up to the Senate to approve the bill.
“We can’t just wait for more shootings to occur before the Senate does the right thing.” he said. “I have a two-year-old and now I don’t even want to take him to the grocery store.”
Swalwell said it’s sad that some elected officials are afraid of losing in a primary election due to the influence of the National Rifle Association.
“If they are on the wrong side of the NRA, then the NRA will dump millions of dollars against them to support someone more conservative. It’s not about doing what is right, it’s about losing their jobs,” he told the crowd. “The Senate should be forced into passing the legislation and put the safety of the American people above their own personal interests.”
One constituent questioned Swalwell about taking away the constitutional right to bear arms.
“We have to distinguish between a gun to go hunting, a gun to shoot for sport, a gun to protect yourself and a military weapon,” the congressman said. “The police are starting to recognize that they also are less safe when military weapons are out there. They are out gunned. I don’t want military weapons in our streets.”
Constituents also asked Swalwell about other issues, such as moving the Palo Alto VA Medical Center out of Livermore. He said no changes are being planned to relocate the hospital at this time.
The congressman told the crowd he doubted there would be any changes to the electoral college system because it’d be hard to get states with smaller populations to favor decreasing their sway in the outcome of a presidential election.
Swalwell, who lives in Livermore, also noted his support of the city’s recently passed ban on the sales of vaping and flavored nicotine products. The congressman encouraged people who want to see changes in public policy to write to their representatives and donate to political candidates.