Democrats sit in on US House floor, demand vote on gun measures


Dozens of U.S. Democratic lawmakers staged a Wednesday sit-in that lasted well into the night, demanding a vote on gun control measures.

The Representatives who occupied the floor of the House, were led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. He tweeted this message shortly before the sit-in started around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The Republican-led House is preparing to take a week-long break. But the Democrats involved in the sit in took up the slogan "no bill, no break."

More than 10 hours after their sit in began, CNN reports, Speaker Paul Ryan gaveled the House to order and tried to hold votes on things unrelated to guns. But the scene became chaotic and Ryan decided against having the protesting members removed.

What do the Democrats want?

They want votes on two proposals. One would make suspected terrorists on the no-fly list unable to legally buy guns; the other would be for universal background checks on gun purchases.

If this sounds familiar, it's because Democrats in the Senate did something similar just last week. They staged a 14-plus hour filibuster, demanding senators vote on gun control proposals. That vote happened Monday, and none of them passed.

This comes after the shooting at an Orlando nightclub, where 49 people and the suspected gunman were killed and 53 others were injured. It's the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

"What is the tipping point? Are we blind? Can we see? How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something?" Lewis said in his speech before the sit-in.

Lewis and Democratic colleagues spoke through their allotted time, and the House then called a recess over the sit-in group's chatter.

"Give us a vote. Let us vote," Lewis said. "We came here to do our job, we came here to work."

Minnesotans join in

More lawmakers joined the sit-in after it started, including members of Minnesota's congressional delegation.

Rep. Keith Ellison was reportedly in a meeting when he got a message saying his mother wanted him to join the sit in.

Ellison did head to the House floor and later delivered a speech you can see here.

Reps. Rick Nolan and Betty McCollum  were also there, as well as Sen. Al Franken, who was part of the filibuster last week and crossed over from the other chamber to participate Wednesday.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was also there, the Star Tribune reports.

A bunch of Congressmen tweeted from the floor as well. Here's a sampling.

An interesting tidbit: C-SPAN does not have a live feed of the sit-in – that's up to whoever controls the House, which right now is the Republicans.

The network continued to provide coverage of the sit in, relying on Periscope and Facebook feeds of House members.

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