Reps. John Lewis (D-GA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA) hold a sit in with U.S. House Democrats on the House floor June 22, 2016. The sit-in, an attempt to sway the Republican majority to a vote on common sense gun reform lasted 25 hours with no vote taken. Video Courtesy Representative John Lewis/Youtube
The fiery anti-gun violence sit in held by U.S. House Democrats on Wednesday and spearheaded by Reps. John Lewis (D-GA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), came to a close on Thursday after members held the floor for more than 25 hours. Lewis and Clark convened the sit-in in an attempt to force a vote on common sense gun control legislation before the Congressional break.
“We have lost hundreds of thousands of 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?” – Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
“For months, even for years through several sessions of Congress, I wondered what would bring this body to take action what would finally make Congress do what is right, what is just, what the people of this country have been demanding and what is long overdue,” Lewis said. “We have lost hundreds of thousands of 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 actions, championed by Clark and the Democratic minority, prompted an overnight session that saw House Republicans shut off chamber microphones, cut the C-SPAN video feed, and eventually, after almost coming to blows with their Democratic brothers, simply adjourn and leave the Capitol behind.
Congresswoman Clark told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that she approached Lewis to instigate a plan to actuate a vote on critical gun control legislation. To Lewis she said, “I couldn’t take any more moments of silence that weren’t followed by action. On behalf of grieving parents and grandparents, and the American public, we have to do something. We have to do something.”
That something and Lewis’ call for a sit-in that saw, according to CNN, more than 170 Democratic leaders join together on the House Floor throughout the day and evening, drew fire from the GOP. The situation on the floor grew volatile during formal session when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) approached the podium yelling “Radical Islam killed those people” while his cohorts yelled “a terrorist with a gun, a terrorist with a gun, a terrorist with a gun.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan eventually gavelled the session to a close, with no vote. Speaking amidst chants of “No bill, no break” Ryan said he understood that “members will differ on matters of policy and will seek to express those differences.” With no end to the Democratic protest in sight and no intention of allowing a vote, Ryan ended the session just after 3 a.m., despite the Democrats will to remain. The next session was scheduled for 9 a.m. on June 24, 2016.
“Our Republican colleagues cut and run. They turned the lights off. They cut us off and cut off in the dark of night. Cut and run.” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) said.
Democrats vowed to take up their positions upon resumption of proceedings.
“We got in trouble,” Lewis told supporters gathered outside the Capitol. “We got in the way. Good trouble. Necessary Trouble. By sitting-in, we were really standing up.”
This post originally appeared on Examiner.com on June 23, 2016.