GILROY, Calif. — Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski and his wife attended the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday and were set to leave right before a gunman opened fire.
The congressman said they were headed to the exit when the shooting started. At first, they didn't know what was going on, but they knew it wasn't good.
"I've seen video of this," Lipinski said. "Unfortunately, we've seen video of mass shootings, you hear the sounds and people running and just thinking 'I'm pretty sure that's what I'm going through, just run as fast as possible.'"
He was right. He and his wife are not injured. However, the gunman killed two children and a man in 20s and injured about a dozen more before police shot and killed him.
Lipinski said he is going to use this experience in hopes to reach lawmakers to make changes to gun laws in the U.S.
"I can stand in front of people, talk to people and say to them 'this is something I went through and understand very personally we need to do something about all this gun violence,'" Lipinski said.
He's not the only congressman from Illinois that has been involved in a mass shooting. In 2017, Congressman Rodney Davis was practicing for the upcoming Congressional Baseball Game just outside of D.C. when a man opened fire hitting four people before police were able to shoot and kill him.
"I never thought I would go to practice for a charity baseball game at 6:30 in the morning and have to be dodging bullets," Davis said.
That shooting did not bring about any changes to gun laws and the congressman doesn't think this latest one will either. A recent bill to enhanced background checks passed the House, but stalled in the Senate.
The congressman said even small changes to gun rights is met with the stiffest opposition.
"That continues to make it pretty much impossible to get these laws passed," Lipinski said.
Regardless, the congressman said he'll keep working for what he calls common sense gun legislation.
Lipinski has an F grade from the NRA.