House Democrats Stage Sit-In for Gun Control
Updated 4:19 p.m.
In an attempt to force a vote on gun control measures a group of Democrats disrupted the House of Representatives on Wednesday, staging a sit-in on the House floor and refusing to leave until they were given the vote. Exasperated Republicans were forced to recess while cutting off the C-SPAN cameras that showed the protest.
At about 11:30 a.m. EDT, about three dozen Democrats led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis demanded a vote on measures to expand background checks and block gun purchases by some suspected terrorists in the aftermath of last week’s massacre in Orlando, Fla., that killed 49 people. It was the worst shooting in modern history.
“No bill, no break,” shouted Democrats, who demanded that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., keep the House in session through its planned weeklong recess next week to debate and vote on gun legislation.
Various Congressional members from both the House and the Senate joined the demonstration, asking Ryan to push forward the gun control measure vote. The C-SPAN cameras remained turned off late on Wendesday, but Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke broadcast the demonstration through Facebook Live, which C-Span showed on its website.
Lewis said action on gun violence is long overdue.
My colleagues & I have had enough. We are sitting-in on the House Floor until we get a vote to address gun violence. https://t.co/rTqrPifuUz
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) June 22, 2016
“We have lost hundreds and thousands of innocent people to gun violence,” Lewis said as he urged fellow Democrats to stand with him in the area near the podium, known as the well.
“What has this body done” to respond to the violence, Lewis asked, then answered his own question: “Nothing. We have turned a deaf ear to the blood of innocents. We are blind to a crisis. Where is our courage? How many more mothers…and fathers need to shed tears of grief?”
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, tried to start the House’s work at noon. The customary prayer and pledge of allegiance went ahead, but Poe was forced to recess the House when dozens of Democrats stood in the well of the House and refused to leave.
Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., said lawmakers were “calling for the simple dignity of a vote.” Joining the protest was Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who had waged a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week to force votes in the Senate. Those votes failed on Monday night.
Photo: Twitter, Rep. Elisabeth Esty (@)