4th of July 'sit in' against gun violence

Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier took part Monday in a "sit-in" against gun violence while dressed in red, white and blue.

At the annual Fourth of July festival in Redwood City, it was a day of celebration -- with a message.

Holding signs reading, "Disarm Hate," Speier and anti-violence advocates chanted "No more gun violence!" outside the Fox Theatre on Broadway while calling for responsible gun legislation and mandatory background checks for all gun sales.

Speier, D-San Mateo, said she believes the Second Amendment -- the right to bear arms -- can still be protected, even as she and others joined the fight to "disarm hate."

"Every gun should be subject to an instant background check in this country. Every gun," Speier said to applause.

Last month, Democrats including Speier held a 25-hour sit-in on the House floor in response to the mass shootings in Orlando and elsewhere. Republicans called it a publicity stunt.

Speier says on this Independence Day, she wants people to be free - free from violence at places like theaters, nightclubs and schools.

"The message is, while we declared our independence many centuries ago, we're declaring our independence from the NRA and the gun lobbies that have, for too long, held the Congress of the United States hostage in passing sane legislation on gun violence prevention," Speier told KTVU.

She wore a button reading, "Freedom from gun violence."

"You'll see this button that I'm wearing that we designed, that talks about freedom from fear. And Orlando was a huge wake-up call."

Among those joining Speier at the sit-in were Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) and San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

"As a prosecutor, I've spent all these decades watching the violence that comes from guns, and the people, and the tragedies that occur to families, and so I very much share the congresswoman's views," Wagstaffe said.

San Carlos resident Margaret Marshall brought her children with her to the rally, including her young daughter, strapped to her chest.

"I don't think Americans should live in fear of the terrorism we promote, honestly by arming our citizens with guns that are meant for the military," Marshall said.

Speier said she will return to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, when the House is back from its Fourth of July recess.