Fed up with a lack of adequate gun control legislation, dozens of House Democrats have staged a sit-in on the floor of the camber to demand a vote be held on gun control legislation. The Republican-led House has thus far been deadlocked with respect to any legislation on gun control measures, even in the wake of the volume of mass shootings in recent years. In 2016 alone there have been 136 mass shootings in the first 164 days of the year. A PBS study found that in 2015 there was at least one mass shooting per calendar day.
Despite Chris Murphy's nearly 15 hour filibuster in the Senate last week, effective legislation has failed to pass. This has led to dozens of members of Congress taking matters into their own hands. Led by Georgia representative John Lewis, many Democrats have demanded a vote on gun control measures. They've effectively shut down congress, and chanted "no bill, no break" as the sit-in began.
The Republicans quickly declared a recess, shutting off all C-SPAN access to the floor. Democratic representatives began making speeches about the importance of gun control legislation. South Carolina's James E. Clyburn spoke of last year's church shooting in Charleston, while Florida's Kathy Castor asserted that the Democrats "will not leave the floor of this House until this Congress takes action!"
Spokesperson for the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, said that the members staging the sit-in wanted to restrict the sale of guns to those currently on the government's terrorist watch list, and to expand background checks for people seeking to purchase firearms. These are the same two measures that were voted down in Senate earlier this week. Maine's Susan Collins, a Republican Senator from Maine, had even drafted potential legislation considered a compromise between the two party's conflicting ideology regarding gun control, but it lacked enough support from the Republican party.
The sit-in has garnered the support of a number of Democratic senators, with many, including Edward J. Markey from Massachusetts, Al Franken of Minnesota and Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, joining the Members of Congress on the floor of the House chamber.
This story is currently developing. Stay tuned to PopWrapped for updates.