Democrats Have Staged An Amazing Sit-In Over Gun Legislation
Over 12 hours has passed in the legendary protest on the Capitol Hill floor started by House Democrats who are hoping to achieve a vote on gun control legislation.
CNN reports the sit-in was started by Reps. John Lewis and Katherine Clark, who called to action on gun control laws on Wednesday (June 22.) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Democrats are willing to spend the night on the House floor until a bill is passed.
“We have turned deaf ears to the blood of the innocent and the concern of our nation. We are blind to a crisis,” Lewis said. “Mr. Speaker, where is the heart of this body? Where is the soul? Where is our moral leadership? Where is our courage?”
The bill, nicknamed by Dems as “no fly, no buy,” will prevent those who are on terrorist watch lists--like the “no fly list,” --from buying firearms. Extensive background checks are also mentioned in the proposed bill.
C-SPAN cameras ran by House Republican leaders were cut during recess, but politicians have used social media tools like Periscope to document the sit-in. The hashtag, #NoBillNoBreak was later created on Twitter.
The protest came to be after the Senate blocked a number of gun measures on Monday (June 20) following the shooting at a popular Orlando gay nightclub on June 12. A total of 49 people were killed and 53 were injured, making it the largest mass shooting in American history.
Many have praised Lewis online, including President Barack Obama.
Democrats have shared the tragic stories of Newton, the Charleston Massacre, the San Bernardino shooting and more to explain the importance on stronger laws on gun control. They also called out Republicans who ignored the tragedies, calling it "business as usual." "The American people are smart," Rep. Mark Takano said."They know that stopping people from buying firearms does not infringe the second amendment."
Republican Speaker Paul Ryan has reportedly called the sit-in a publicity stunt as the politicians debated over gun legislation. Thursday's (June 23) House agenda is expected to discuss a Zika funding legislation, but Dems are hopeful to take a vote on the bill.