Maryland grad Eric Swalwell is running for president on a gun control platform. How has he voted on the issue?

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, middle, chats with President of Saint Anselm College Steven DiSalvo, right, and others at a Politics & Eggs event Feb. 25 in Manchester, N.H.
U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, middle, chats with President of Saint Anselm College Steven DiSalvo, right, and others at a Politics & Eggs event Feb. 25 in Manchester, N.H. (Elise Amendola / AP)

California Rep. Eric Swalwell, a graduate of the University of Maryland, announced Monday that he will join the ever-growing field of Democratic presidential candidates with a platform focused on gun control.

While Swalwell is only 38 years old, he is already in his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and has voted on a number of measures involving gun ownership rights and regulations.


So as the man once known as “Bahama Bob” at Maryland prepares to challenge an already large field of candidates, we take a look back at how he has voted on the issue.

University of Maryland alumnus Eric Swalwell, a four-term San Francisco Bay Area congressman who has grown into a cable TV fixture as a slashing and unremitting critic of President Donald Trump, formally announced Monday his long-shot bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

2014: Prohibiting D.C. from enacting certain firearm laws

Early in Swalwell’s career, the then-Republican controlled House looked to prevent Washington’s city government from implementing certain firearms laws by prohibiting officials from using federally appropriated funds to do so.


In an amendment to an appropriations bill that funded various federal agencies such as the Department of Treasury and the IRS, a largely Republican-led group looked to restrict the district’s ability to enforce three laws passed by city government dating to 2008.

The amendment, sponsored by Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, ultimately passed the House with staunch Republican support, although some Democrats did join their Republican colleagues, including fellow California Rep. John Garamendi.

According to Votesmart.org’s vote count of the amendment, Swalwell voted “no” on the amendment and set tone for the representative’s votes on gun control for the next few years.

California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell visited Iowa last weekend, the first Democrat to make a stop in the state after the 2018 midterm elections. The 38-year-old began his career in politics as a student activist and a member of the University of Maryland's student government association.

2017: Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act

Three years later, a controversial bill looked to expand veterans’ access to firearms by allowing those deemed mentally incompetent to buy guns unless they were found by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others.


The bill’s supporters said it was the result of a federal law in which veterans who had been assigned fiduciaries — people who manage their finances — could be deemed mentally incompetent without a court ruling.

Its detractors said it would more easily allow veterans with mental health problems to access firearms, with fellow Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty saying it would affect more than 170,000 veterans.

While the bill passed, again largely on the back of a still Republican-controlled House, Swalwell joined the majority of his Democratic colleagues in voting “no” against the measure, according to votesmart.org.

Campaign 2020: Here’s more about the Democratic candidates hoping to challenge Donald Trump and where they stand on the issues.

2019: Bipartisan Background Checks Act

Now in his fourth term with a Democrat-controlled House, Swalwell co-sponsored a bill that would’ve required a background check for every firearm sale.

A goal for Democrats for years, Swalwell joined his colleagues in support of the measure, according to votesmart.org, which passed the House largely along party lines.

However, with Republicans in control of the Senate and President Donald Trump’s stated opposition and intent to veto the bill were it to ever cross his desk, it’s likely a political nonstarter currently.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun