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Democrats end 25-hour House floor protest over guns

  • Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., center, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn. participated in sit-down protest seeking a a vote on gun control measures, Wednesday, on the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Rep. Chillie Pingree via AP)

  • House Speaker Paul Ryan gaveled the House into session Wednesday night, in Washington. The sit-in was well into its 10th hour, with Democrats camped out on the floor stopping legislative business in the House, when Ryan stepped to the podium to gavel the House into session and hold votes on routine business. Angry Democrats chanted “No bill, no break!” and waved pieces of paper with the names of gun victims, continuing their protest in the well of the House even as the House voted on a previously scheduled and unrelated measure to overturn an Obama veto. (House Television via AP)

  • House Speaker Paul Ryan stood at the podium as he brings the House into session Wednesday night, in Washington. The sit-in was well into its 10th hour, with Democrats camped out on the floor stopping legislative business in the House, when Ryan stepped to the podium to gavel the House into session and hold votes on routine business. Angry Democrats chanted “No bill, no break!” and waved pieces of paper with the names of gun victims, continuing their protest in the well of the House even as the House voted on a previously scheduled and unrelated measure to overturn an Obama veto. (House Television via AP)

WASHINGTON » Weary but jubilant House Democrats ended their extraordinary sit-in on the chamber’s floor today more than 24 hours after it began, a protest that let them broadcast their demands around the world for gun-control votes in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida nightclub.

There were no indications that Republicans who run the House had granted Democrats’ insistence for votes on bills strengthening background checks and barring firearms sales to people on the government’s no-fly list.

Even so, 25½ hours after they commandeered the chamber and blasted images of themselves on social media, Democrats filed out and declared victory.

“We are going to win this struggle,” said Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the civil rights icon who helped lead the sit-in.

Hours earlier, Republicans had exited the Capitol, branding the remarkable sit-in a publicity stunt and summarily adjourning the chamber at about 3:15 a.m. EDT until after the Fourth of July.

“We are not going to allow stunts like this to stop us from carrying out the people’s business,” Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said this morning in dismissing the protest. Ryan held up copies of Democratic fundraising appeals based on the protest.

One by one, Democrats delivered speeches that mixed victory declarations with promises not to back down in their drive to curb firearm violence. Placards with photos of gun victims and the phone number of the Capitol switchboard were prominently displayed on the floor.

“It’s rightful indignation,” Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., said about the Democratic sit-in and the positive reaction it was getting from supporters. “America has had enough.”

When Republicans streamed to the exits hours earlier, Democrats stayed behind on the House floor, shouting “No bill, no break!” and waving papers with the names of gun victims written in black.

With a crowd cheering them on from outside the Capitol and many more following the theatrics on social media, Democrats declared success in dramatizing the argument for action to stem gun violence.

“Just because they cut and run in the dark of night, just because they have left doesn’t mean we are taking no for an answer,” said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Republicans fiercely resisted the pressure and said Democrats had accomplished nothing other than disrupting the business of the House to score political points. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called it “a publicity stunt.”

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who had participated in the civil rights sit-ins in the South in the 1960s, said Democrats had “crossed one bridge.” He added, “We have other bridges to cross,” and said Democrats “made a down payment on ending gun violence” in America.

At one point overnight, the two sides nearly came to blows after Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, approached the Democrats and yelled, “Radical Islam!” Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., started yelling back. The two came within inches of each other, both screaming, only to be separated by colleagues.

Pressure had built on Capitol Hill following the shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando this month that killed 49 people and injured 53 others. The assailant also died. The mass attack followed similar tragic incidents over the past years including the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The agitation for action caused a Senate filibuster last week and led to the chaos in the House, a spectacle that captured the attention of a Washington gridlocked on guns.

House Republicans used their prerogatives as the majority party to muscle through, with no time for debate, a partisan bill that provides money for the Zika crisis. GOP lawmakers overruled Democrats’ objections and then acted to adjourn the House into next month. Democrats cried “Shame, Shame!”

Republicans shut off the cameras in the House gallery throughout most of the protest, but Democrats used their cellphones to capture the action. C-SPAN carried the feeds live via Periscope and Facebook, in an unprecedented move.

Ryan said the gun bills pushed by Democrats, to expand background checks and keep people on the no-fly list from getting guns, would take away people’s constitutional rights and deprive them of due process. He noted that the Senate this week rejected similar legislation.

The protest began around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, unfolding on the House floor with little advance warning from the Democrats. Most of the 188 Democrats took turns speaking, joined by dozens of Senate Democrats.

Scattered around the House floor were signs reading “Disarm Hate.”

The sit-in, with Lewis playing a leading role, had the look of a 1960s-style protest. Some lawmakers sat on the floor; others were in their seats.

Republicans staged a similar protest in 2008. Democrats controlling the House at the time turned off the cameras amid a GOP push for a vote to expand oil and gas drilling. Republicans occupied the floor, delivering speech after speech after Pelosi, then the House speaker, sent lawmakers bolting to their August recess. Pelosi at that time had ordered the cameras turned off.

C-SPAN, a cable and satellite network that provides continual coverage of House and Senate floor proceedings, does not control the cameras. They are run on authorization by legislative leaders.

Associated Press writers Matthew Daly, Mary Clare Jalonick, Andrew Taylor, Darlene Superville and Alan Fram contributed to this report.

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  • I see a picture of hypocrites, they all depend on armed guards with AR-15s to defend them, but you, the common citizen, no. They want to make it as difficult as possible for responsible Americans to defend themselves.

    • The hypocrites are republicans who always claim sanctity of life but follow the philosophy that life begins at conception and ends at birth.

      • Oh there’s plenty of hypocrisy to go around. And simply pointing the finger at someone else doesn’t make your team innocent.

        The democrats voted lock-step and strictly along party lines on two perfectly reasonable bills introduced by republicans that would have strengthened gun laws and background checks. To be clear… They voted AGAINST THEM!!!

        So maybe you can explain what they’re doing sitting on the floor of the Senate and while you’re at it, explain why they left such paper strewn mess behind when they left.

        “Hey look over there!” Is never a valid defense for bad behavior.

    • All they need is to bring this bill up for vote. If it gets voted down, then it gets voted down. That’s pretty much all they want. With the NRA having such a tight noose around the necks of the GOP, seems like ANY form of gun regulation is unacceptable to them. They still have the majority and probably will vote it down, but they don’t have the balls to even bring it up for vote.

      • Harry Reid, while democrat leader of the Senate, stomped proposed republican house legislation into the ground as a matter of routine. No doubt Pelosi (sickens me to even type that name) undoubtedly did the same when in charge. So, as the old saying goes, what goes around comes around.

        And the bill these clowns are sitting in for, in a idiotic parody of the civil rights movement, is a complete violation of the constitution and its due process provisions. It would void the provisions of the 2d amendment for a class of people who are on the no fly list, a secret list, full of errors, cobbled together by bureaucrats without protections or judicial oversight. It is a bad, unconstitutional bill which would solve nothing regarding gun violence since the vast majority of such is hand gun related.

        However, this is representative of virtually all Democrat efforts to tank the 2d amendment inch by inch. In this case, they are cynically using the emotion of the Orlando murders to attack gun rights when they should be standing up to a president who doesn’t have the good sense to identify the real enemy, radical islamic terrorism.

        As to the NRA influence. You’re dead wrong. The NRA would have no influence and no members without vast public support.

      • Harry Reid, while democrat leader of the Senate, stomped proposed republican house legislation into the ground as a matter of routine. No doubt Pelosi (sickens me to even type that name) undoubtedly did the same when in charge. So, as the old saying goes, what goes around comes around.

        And the bill these clowns are sitting in for, in a fools parody of the civil rights movement, is a complete violation of the constitution and its due process provisions. It would void the provisions of the 2d amendment for a class of people who are on the no fly list, a secret list, full of errors, cobbled together by bureaucrats without protections or judicial oversight. It is a bad, unconstitutional bill which would solve nothing regarding gun violence since the vast majority of such is hand gun related.

        However, this is representative of virtually all Democrat efforts to tank the 2d amendment inch by inch. In this case, they are cynically using the emotion of the Orlando murders to attack gun rights when they should be standing up to a president who doesn’t have the good sense to identify the real enemy, radical islamic terrorism.

        As to the NRA influence. You’re dead wrong. The NRA would have no influence and no members without vast public support.

    • If one wants to infringe on a citizens right to own and carry a firearm, their only course of action is to amend the US Constitution. Sitting on the floor and whining about guns accomplishes nothing. Passing unconstitutional gun control laws are also fruitless. Amend or shut-up should be the chant inside the House!

  • It’s outrageous how one-sided and completely biased the American media is toward liberal views. The Democrats leading this fight are morons. They should be airlifted to Iraq and dropped in the middle of the battle so that America’s enemies can get their hands on them. If they want to be sheep, fine. But don’t take any constitutional rights away from law-abiding citizens. No more. Go home and shut up.

      • No seems like more in line with being frustrated by those who are suppose to behave in a manner to conduct legislative matters properly…it’s call decorum. Ryan needs to call a recess and adjourn the meeting until such time that the children can learn to behave…whoops…I mean our congressional members…learn to conduct themselves properly. 🙂

      • Aren’t you that homophobe that tried to retract a horrible statement. Um what your opinion is has been lost in the true hate in your soul buddy. There’s no getting rid of or hiding that anymore.

        • Boots & Klastri just circle-jerk each other spouting their nonsense as usual.

      • “Obviously”…..Real Christians know this fact: That Pontius Pilate Found NO FAULT to execute Jesus ,and knew the evidence brought before him was was false! you fail to mention who really is responsible for Jesus’s execution.

        • Pilot found “no fault” in Jesus, not “no fault” in crucifying him. Where did you find such rot?

        • JustBobF:
          Pilate.Not “Pilot”. Educate your self before opining.try reading the Bible 1st,preferably the New Testament.”Rot”?tsk.tsk…tsk.

        • what ever their purpose or design cars kill and injure just as efficiently as firearms. banning cars would end the vehicle violence.

          after all, as krusha wrote, “Saving even just one life is reason enough.”

          even obama agrees: “If there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save—we’ve got an obligation to try.”

          ban cars. end the killing.

        • st1d… Really? Try driving into a club with your car and killing 50 people. I’m really not a gun ban guy, but arguments like that are just silly.

        • there were 11 incidents of mass shootings in the u.s. from 2013 to 2016. total dead: 119

          during the same time there were more than 119,000 deaths from vehicles in the u.s.

          nothing silly about 119 deaths from mass shootings.

          definitely nothing silly about more than 119,000 deaths from vehicles. nothing.

          ban cars. end the killing.

        • “cars kill and injure just as efficiently as firearms”

          One 6lb device killing 50 people is way more “efficient” than one two ton device killing two people.

          It’s a silly comparison — and a fake one — seeing that you probably have no particular concern for auto accident victims or in giving up your car.

  • I thought this was the “Occupy Wall Street” folks until I read the article. Well they definitely do not represent my beliefs in spirit or action. Do you notice the atmosphere of being “habut”…later this a.m. the “anointed one” is going to make same in his response to the Supreme Court ruling on illegal immigrants. I believe “making habut” should become a battle cry amongst liberals… 🙂

    • When the Democrats had the majority in the Senate, Republicans would propose bills and Harry Reid (D-NV) would decline to hold votes on them. Did we see Republicans throwing temper tantrums, holding sit-ins and refusing to leave the chambers while shouting down all other Senate business? Nopes…

  • Can someone tell me what it is about passing laws that will prohibit terrorists and the mentally ill a bad thing? I’m a gun owner and I have absolutely no problem with having a background check done on me. This is not about denying anyone to own a gun for self protection. It’s about making denying those who shouldn’t have guns. Common sense!

    • So can we start placing US citizens who have not committed a crime on a secret list (with no legal recourse to challenge in court) and start denying other rights in the constitution, such as the right to free speech or due process? Btw Sen. Cornyn (R-TX)proposed a sensible bill which would have temporarily blocked gun sales by giving the attorney general 3 days to make a compelling reason to a judge, however Senate Democrats voted that down.

    • The criteria of no fly and terror watch lists are too broad, which could possibly deny innocent American citizens rights of due process. The Dems are just putting lipstick on their true goal of gun confiscation.

    • Common sense…a trait that is being lost amongst the tribal masses / political party (guess who I talking about. As my Momma (a member of the Greatest Generation) used to say, “Common Sense go’in tell you!” or “That boy (no gender or race implied) no mo back bone!” or “Be a man! (no gender implied)…it just means to suck it up and move forward…”Ganbare”. One her best, “What de take me fo…damn fool?” Mom was tough but at the same time the sweetest person anyone would want to have as a Mom or friend…she should have run for office! 🙂

        • Maybe same folks that edited the Orlando active shooter’s 911 recording…just saying 🙂

        • Hmmm…reply indication my Comment was under “Moderation Review” and now that text was edited out…amazing how SA controls what’s get submitted and yet they overload the webpage with advertisements… 🙂

    • Actually none of this has to do with Orlando. These sixties tie dyed rejects, life time politicians, never saw a tragedy they couldn’t exploit for their own benefit. Their record in combating terrorism is o bad they shift the conversation. If it was just about gun laws I’m sure there could be some sensible debate on the issue. But this is not about any of that. I was not quite a teen in the sixties and I find it funny that sooo many now identify with the mentality so few actually participated in during those years. After all what did they sixties give us? Drugs (addiction that will ruin the nation) Free love man (STD’s) and of course great music. One outta three.

    • By the way, I am also a bona fide U.S. citizen…a responsible gun owner…background checked…safety training certified…registered all firearms…gun safe. I hope that I will be able to have a conceal and carry permit (which includes proper training) and supplement with approved force-on-force training (what to really expect it you encounter an active shooter). Sounds rather reasonable…:)

    • all us gun owners have to have background checks. the Orlando shooter passed all his background checks. background checks are a straw man for democrats. yes, there are people who shouldn’t have guns. we all agree on that. but to do that without due process is wrong because if they can do it to that person, they can do it to you. the democrats want to disarm the public, thats the bottom line. Joe Biden just said we should ban ownership of so called assault rifles by public citizens. not future sales, OWNERSHIP. that means confiscation, something Hillary already said is something that should happen. after our semi auto rifles are gone, its just a matter of time that semi auto pistols are gone. a left leaning supreme court judge will allow that to happen. so brah, if you want to keep your gun, whether you are a democrat or republican, Hillary will be going after your guns. bet on it.

      • Attempt for confiscation of all firearms to follow? Let’s not have this happen. I believe we should increase conceal and carry (with proper training) to protect Family, Friends and Community. If you read the Hurricane prep handout gets issued out every hurricane season…there was an edition where the Governor warned our citizens that if a disaster hits police and EMS will not be able to provide services for all…hence, you need to take care of yourself…comforting is it not?

  • It is because of the tyranny of those in the sit-in that we have the 2nd Amendment. Read the statistics folks. IF you are going to ban anything, ban ownership of AR’s but not all guns.

    • Can we assume your comment is directed towards the gang sitting on the floor? They refused to consider a couple of sensible GOP proposals already, choosing instead to act like 2 yr olds.

  • Paul Ryan should have at least brought them some coffee and donuts,a bed and maybe some chairs so as to make these “disenfranchised” Democrats….more comfortable. And maybe a BIG box of Kleenex for rep. John Lewis Ha!Ha!ha!haaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
    Didn’t i tell you that this was going to happen? That what Democrats were going to do after the Pulse Night Club Terrorist attack?? Didn’t I ,didn’t I? “That they were going to shift the Blame to our…… Guns again”? Instead of dealing with the REAL issue,that this was in fact a “Radical Islamic Homegrown Terrorist Attack”who waged Jihad and…… pledged his allegiance to ISIS? _______Told you so!

    I digress……
    With all the things going on in our Country today,has it ever come to mind that our country is no longer the country we once knew? Which has now become…” The Divided States Of America”. Shucks and to think that everyone thought that Barry would or was supposed Unite the country!lol.
    Who are we going to blame now? wait for it…….. Those bad Republicans and GW Bush.lol
    If you ask me? I Can’t wait for President Trump to officially take office and end all this madness!
    C’mon Donald it’s now or never! let’s “Make America Great Again”.IMUA

    • Hillary or Donald will continue the divide, only in separate directions. Libertarians strive for fiscal sense, social liberalismm, and defensive miliary strength. The positives of both major parties are encompassed in their philosophy, while the negatives are realistically addressed. And the clincher? Their candidate is an honorable man..

      • It seems to be popular, at the moment , to say “vote Libertarian”. then they give you a short redacted list of why. However we need a 4th party that takes the best from real Repubs and the reality from Libertarians(certain freedoms), as a platform. Clue: a vote for Libertarian party also= open borders(result worse than Dem Polit-buraeu), no preventive U.S. defense(ie no real Military), legalization of all drugs(not just Marijuana, but the State will still take care of you while you ruin your life and ruin/endanger everyone around you with cocaine, opioids, Meth etc.), no real solution to illegal immigration and trillions to be spent supporting them(as bad as the Dem Polit-bureau).

        • “http://www.ontheissues.org/Gary_Johnson.htm”. Just in case your actually interested in what Johnson believes. Taking the Libertarian hard liner approach isn’t what he’s about. He is for legalization of pot, not hard drugs. He recognizes the failure and cost of the war on drugs. He’s opposed to us being interventional, preferring that we focus on maintaining the strongest defensive military worldwide. Few can tolerate all the extreme democratic or republican positions, there has to be a give and take to everything. Libertarians extract some solid points from both perspectives. Do they have all the answers? Obviously not, but I find it disingenuous that, considering the quality of their presidential team. anyone would seriously prefer voting for either of the other pitiful options.

  • Children perform sit-ins as a way to rebel for something they want. Here we have grown adults that can’t successfully negotiate because of difference of opinion, copy these child-like antics.

    Truly a stunt for those Democrats to stage this ‘show’ in an election year. They want to be re-elected.

    25½ hours and declared victory ? The answer was still ‘NO’.

    I’ve seen people protesting while living in ancient trees for weeks – in opposition to the city chopping it down.

    Don’t forget to vote this year…………….

  • Republicans were simply afraid to have a vote that would have exposed their allegiance to the NRA and their rejection of their constituents, who support the modest provisions in the bill by margins as high as 90–10.

  • I guess they’re finished with throwing their temper tantrum…..they probably lost a lot of respect from the voters for their theatrics instead of behaving as congressional representatives……

  • “Democratic Disruptors”…not bad! Have T-shirts made up and when the reconvene let’s show our constituents how well behave and professional we an be or “not to be”… 🙂

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