House Democrats Stage Sit-In After Gun Control Vote Fails to Pass
News| | By Margo Gothelf
The recent gun debate has taken a new turn as House Democrats have staged a sit-in on the House floor on Wednesday.
Rep. John Lewis (D – Ga.) is pioneering the sit-in hoping to force a vote in the House of Representatives on gun control legislation after the recent defeat of four gun control bills in the Senate.
“We have turned deaf ears to the blood of the innocent and the concerns of our nation,” Lewis said. “How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something?”
He continued, “There comes a time when you have to make a little noise. Now is the time to get in the way. We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over!”
At the end of Lewis’ speech, the Democrats all sat down in front of the podium. The House, which was not formally in session, went to recess where the cameras were turned off by Speaker Paul Ryan, which caused a domino effect of the sit-in causing it not to being televised. After the feed cut out, C-SPAN confirmed they were not in control of the cameras.
C-SPAN has no control over the U.S. House TV cameras.
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 22, 2016
Because of the lost feed, Congressmen and women broadcasted the sit-in using their phones with apps such as Periscope and Facebook Live. They also posted tweets on Twitter despite the rules against videos or photos being taken on the House floor.
According to BuzzFeed News, the House “cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair.”
“No Bill No Break,” was chanted in between speeches from the Congressmen and women. The phrase was quick to trend across social media.
— Tumblr (@tumblr) June 22, 2016
Folks are dismissing the sit-in as pol theater, but Congress doesn't do this. AND they're periscoping it?! This is a big deal #NoBillNoBreak
— Tracey Ross (@traceylross) June 22, 2016
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) June 22, 2016
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) June 22, 2016
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) June 22, 2016
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 22, 2016
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) June 22, 2016
This isn’t the first time Lewis has staged a sit-in. He was part of the famous protests during the anti-segregation sit-ins in Nashville during the Civil Rights era. Lewis can be seen (in the photo below) sitting at a diner countertop that is for whites only.
John Lewis staging a sit-in Nashville in the 1960s v John Lewis staging a sit-in in Washington in 2016 pic.twitter.com/w2EoTG7fWj
— georgia (@normanisreyes) June 22, 2016
The current sit-in is a response to the four gun laws that failed to pass the 60-vote threshold in the Senate on Monday. The vote came after a 15-hour filibuster led by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy in response to the tragic Orlando shooting where 49 people were killed.
Watch Lewis’ full speech below.