NewsPublic Affairs / June 22, 2016

Demanding Action On Gun Control, House Democrats Stage Sit-In

Once the House was gaveled into session, Democrats shouted down the chair. Members remained in the well of the chamber, some literally sitting on the House floor.gun control, House of Representatives, sit-in2016-06-22T00:00:00-04:00
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Demanding Action On Gun Control, House Democrats Stage Sit-In

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

AP photo/Alex Brandon

Demanding action on gun control, about 30 Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives are staging a sit-in.

"Lawmakers are grouped in the well of the chamber, in front of the speaker's dais and in chairs in the front row," NPR's Sue Davis reports. "Some members are literally sitting on the floor of the House."

When the House was gaveled back into session a little after noon, Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas who was speaker pro tempore at the time, was shouted down by members.

"No bill, no break," they chanted. The House is scheduled to break beginning on Sunday.

A prayer was said and members recited the Pledge of Allegiance, but once it became clear that regular business would not take place, Poe called for another recess.

AshLee Strong, a spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan, 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."

Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, announced the sit in earlier this morning.

"We have lost hundreds and thousands of innocent people to gun violence — tiny little children, babies, students and teachers, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, friends and neighbors — and what has this body done?" Lewis said flanked by fellow Democrats. "Mr. Speaker nothing. "Not one thing."

Lewis' colleagues in the Senate held the floor for nearly 15 hours last week demanding much the same thing. Senate Democrats eventually succeeded in getting a vote, but all four gun control measures failed.

There is no live video of the demonstration on the floor because the cameras in the House are turned off once the chamber goes into recess.

This is a breaking news story. We'll update as we know more throughout the day.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.



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