The protest is in response to Republican refusal to take up the so-called No Fly, No Buy legislation, which would bar people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.
The protest started around 11:30 a.m. as 76-year-old civil rights icon congressman John Lewis took to the floor insisting that the chamber remain in session until Republicans allow a vote on gun control legislation....
"What has this body done [to respond to the violence]? Nothing. We have turned a deaf ear to the blood of innocents. We are blind to a crisis. Where is our courage? How many more mothers... and fathers need to shed tears of grief?"
Watch John Lewis' full speech here...
After his speech Lewis and more than 40 of his colleagues proceeded to sit in the well of the congress holding signs printed with the names of gun violence victims over their heads. After situating themselves directly in front of speaker Ryan they shouted over his protestations while refusing to leave.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who was at the podium when the sit-in commenced, tried to ignore the protests and pretended that nothing was happening. When feigning ignorance of the protestors chants to hold a vote on gun control failed, Ryan stepped down from the podium as Democrats chanted “Shame, shame, shame!”.
Having reach his breaking point, the dumbest man in the congress Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Dullard), started yelling “Radical Islam killed these people!” while pointing to a poster of gun violence victims from Orlando. Gohmert then got into a shouting match with Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) that almost resulted in fisticuffs until other members of the house intervened.
Roughly around noon, Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas returned to gavel in the House saying he found that the House was not in a state of order due to the presence of the protesting Democrats in the well who were not recognized. After asking members to leave the well Poe defiantly declared the House in recess.
Republican speaker of the House Paul Ryan chimed in on the sit in dismissing the protest as "a publicity stunt".
Due to the fact that Republicans saw fit to shut off the cameras that supply the feed to C-Span, the satellite network that provides continual coverage of House and Senate floor proceedings, Democratic lawmakers relied on social media to transmit video. They utilized Facebook, Twitter and especially Periscope which was used to broadcast live video streamed from the floor of the Congress.
By evening, 168 House Democrats — out of 188 — and 34 Senate Democrats, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine and Cory Booker, had joined the protest.
|Paul Ryan at the podium trying to bring the House into session and hold votes|
As the sit-in was well into its 10th hour Paul Ryan took to the podium, many assuming as a show of strength, brought the House into session to hold votes on a routine bill that had nothing to do with the sit in. Angry Democrats chanted over Ryan "No bill, no break!" and waved the names of gun victims over their heads while continuing their protest in the well of the House.
Ryan again attempted to ignore the outbursts pounding down his gavel over shouts of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" from the Democrats but Ryan left the lectern as the voting continued. Then Democrats began singing "We Shall Overcome," still holding up the names of gun victims.
As of midnight the protest continues...