“It Is Always Right To Do Right.”

House Democrats demand action on gun violence.

House Democrats Demand Action On Gun Violence

Today, House Democrats, led by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), are demanding action to prevent gun violence. In a moving speech this morning, Lewis—who is no stranger to protest and violenceannounced that he and his Democratic colleagues would stage a sit-in to protest congressional leaders’ refusal to act on commonsense legislation to prevent gun violence.

“We have lost hundreds of thousands of innocent people to gun violence,” he said. “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?” Later, he echoed rhetoric he used to demand the passage of the Voting Rights Act decades ago, demanding, “Give us a vote!”

Speaker Ryan—in a stunning act of censorship—responded to the sit-in by ordering the House to break for lunch and shutting down House cameras, effectively making the sit-in closed to press. During an appearance on CNN six hours into the sit-in, Ryan called the effort “nothing more than a publicity stunt,” adding, “This is not a way to try and bring up legislation.”

After the cameras were shut off, House Democrats began streaming the sit-in themselves using periscope. C-SPAN, which typically streams footage from House cameras but does not control them, began streaming the members’ periscope feeds after Ryan cut the official cameras. In response to Speaker Ryan’s statement Rep. Lewis said, “Sometimes you have to violate a rule or law to uphold a greater law or moral law…It is always right to do right.”

The sit-in comes a week after Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) led a 15-hour filibuster demanding votes to close the background check loophole and the terror gap and just days after the Senate rejected four measures aimed at closing the two loopholes. House Democrats, like their Senate colleagues, are demanding a vote on those measures and they are demanding Speaker Ryan cancel the mid-July recess to take up their proposal.

And they are willing to stay on the floor as long as it takes. The sit-in began with Rep. Lewis and a few of his colleagues in the House, but grew to close to 100 members by 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. The group of representatives was joined by some of their peers in the Senate including Sens. Murphy (D-CT), Warren (D-MA), Sanders (D-VT), Coons (D-DE), Boxer (D-CA), Murray (D-WA) and Booker (D-NJ).

BOTTOM LINE: In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in American history, a few lawmakers have finally said enough is enough. We can do more to keep guns out of dangerous hands. We can do more to reduce the number of lives cut short by guns. It’s time we do.

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