Dems Sit-In To Protest Lack Of Gun Legislation
WASHINGTON — The House Democrats staged an unprecedented sit-in on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. The sit-in began at 11:29 a.m. on Wednesday and included over 100 House Democrats taking to the floor, waving signs naming victims of gun violence and singing “We Shall Overcome.”
It was a dramatic scene and unlike anything that many veteran lawmakers had even seen on the House floor. Democrats said it marked a tipping point in the gun control debate, but it’s unclear if that is the case. Four-gun control proposals were defeated last week in the Senate and many Republicans argue that government should apply the laws on the books regarding guns before making new ones.
Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) The Speaker of the House made sure that the C-SPAN were turned off so the coverage of the historic event was covered by the members of Congress using social media to get their message out via Facebook Live and Periscope.
The House adjourned early Thursday despite Democratic lawmakers’ extraordinary 16-hour protest in which they staged a sit-in on the House floor, bringing legislative business to a halt and triggering a chaotic, late-night showdown as they demanded a vote on gun control legislation.
Republicans adjourned the House following a 239-171 vote to approve $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus shortly after 3 a.m.
“The House did not adjourn without a message being delivered,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said. “That there is an epidemic of gun violence in America and that we need to pass legislation to make America and Americans safer.”
House Democrats, led by civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), were still giving speeches even after the adjournment vote, but activity seemed to winding down just after 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. About 25 members remained on the House floor, wrapped in blankets, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined them.
Lewis and other leaders of the protest vowed to continue their movement in one form or another when Congress returns on July 5.
“We will continue to fight. … When we come back in July, we’ll start all over again,” Lewis said.
Added Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), who is credited with coming up with the idea and helping to recruit Lewis, the Georgia Democrat “gave us all the resolve an the grit and determination to see this through when we are back in July.”