House Dems Stage Sit-In Over Gun Control

Accuse GOP of turning off C-SPAN cameras, demand House not go to recess until vote
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2016 12:28 PM CDT
House Dems Stage Sit-In Over Gun Control
The sit-in in progress.   (Twitter/Rep. Donna Edwards)

Less than a week after Sen. Chris Murphy's filibuster for gun control on the Senate floor (and two days after the Senate voted down a series of gun control measures), another power move, this time by House Democrats: a sit-in protest Wednesday, per the AP. With Georgia Rep. John Lewis leading the way, an initial group of 30 or so Democrats marched into the House chambers shortly before noon, Politico reports, first calling for a vote to expand background checks and ban firearms purchases by suspected terrorists, then "occupying" the floor. "We have been too quiet for too long," Lewis said. "There comes a time when you have to say something. … This is the time." (His speech is here.) The group also demanded that Speaker Paul Ryan nix next week's recess and make the House debate and vote on gun control measures, chanting, "No bill, no break" (which also quickly became a Twitter hashtag).

Confusion seemed to follow, with one GOP lawmaker shutting off the microphones and declaring the House to be in recess, while a Ryan spokesman said, "The House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair." Hillary Clinton gave a thumbs-up to the gun control goings-on, retweeting an Igor Volsky tweet imploring people to "stop watching Trump" rip into Clinton during a Wednesday morning speech. Meanwhile, in an added bit of drama to the day's events, some Democrats accused GOPers of shutting off House cameras broadcasting the sit-in, Jezebel reports, with C-SPAN itself tweeting shortly before noon, "C-SPAN has no control over the US House TV cameras" (though it did tweet a short video showcasing tweets from Congress members during the protest). As of this writing, the House cameras were still not on, as noted by Vox, and the House was said to be in recess until Ryan deems otherwise. (Read more gun control stories.)

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