The House Democrats including the Connecticut delegation have been involved in a sit-in on the floor in an effort to stop gun violence since noon on Wednesday.
Just one week ago it was U.S. Senator Chris Murphy who waged a nearly 15 hours filibuster to push for tougher gun laws, and on Wednesday the entire Connecticut delegation helped to lead a sit-in.
Representatives Jim Himes, John Larson, Rosa DeLauro, Joe Courtney and Elizabeth Esty were all part of the sit-in. The lawmakers were literally sitting on the floor on Wednesday morning in protest.
The sit-in is being led by Congressman John Lewis to get Republicans to agree on a vote on gun violence. The Democrats said they want expanded background checks and legislation preventing gun sales to suspected terrorists.
My colleagues & I have had enough. We are sitting-in on the House Floor until we get a vote to address gun violence. https://t.co/rTqrPifuUz— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) June 22, 2016
Lewis, who has been joined by at least 70 people during the sit-in, said that the Democrats have had enough and tweeted "we must be headlights, not taillights."
"We can't continue to stick our heads in the sand & ignore the reality of mass gun violence," civil rights leader Lewis said.
Larson said this group of Democrats is "demanding" that Speaker Paul Ryan "keep the House in session through its planned recess to debate and vote on gun violence legislation."
"As the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history has underscored, our country cannot afford to stand by while this Congress continues to be paralyzed by politics. We urge you to lead the House into action and work with both sides of the aisle to pass commonsense solutions to keep American children and families safe," Larson said in a letter to Ryan.
There've been more than 1,000 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. When will Congress act? I'm not backing down. We need a vote on gun reforms— Rep. John Larson (@RepJohnLarson) June 22, 2016
Larson said the Democrats involved in the sit-in represent "the families who worried and frustrated – millions of Americans who are fed up with the inaction in Congress."
"There is no doubt that our path to solutions will be arduous, but we have to agree that inaction can no longer be a choice that this Congress makes. We cannot enact solutions for families at home if the Speaker will not even allow a debate," Larson said.
With the cameras off on C-SPAN, the Democrats took to social media and are using the hashtag #NoBillNoBreak, #NoMoreSilence.
Murphy said he was proud of his colleagues in the House and tweeted his support before joining them on the floor.
Murphy called Lewis "a true hero" and said he "has done more throughout the course of their life to stand up for justice and righteousness."
"We will not alter the way Congress responds to the mass slaughter of our constituents without ripping up the usual script and demanding change. We forced Senate Republicans to allow votes to keep guns away from dangerous people – the House should not go on vacation until Speaker Ryan and House Republicans do the same," Murphy said in a statement on Wednesday.
Esty released a statement on the sit-in.
“Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, more than 100,000 Americans have been lost to gun violence. And in that time the House has done nothing. We cannot continue to watch in silence as Americans lose their lives to senseless violence – not when we have the power to act. We demand a vote," Esty said.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal applauded the efforts of Larson and Lewis.
Blumenthal joined the Connecticut delegation on the House floor.
“I was proud to walk over and join my colleagues in the House - led by Congressmen John Lewis and my fellow Members of the Connecticut Congressional Delegation - today in demanding action. Gun violence is a public health epidemic that is killing our constituents, and Congress’s refusal to address it is nothing short of a profound injustice. Like the Senate filibuster I helped to lead last week, the House sit-in is a powerful demonstration of our responsibility not to give up, not to relent in calling for action to end the horror show of death and injury that Congress’s failure has perpetuated," Blumenthal said in a statement on Wednesday.
In a statement, Gov. Dannel Malloy said "Enough is enough. We recognized that enough was enough in Connecticut, and our Congressional delegation realizes it in Washington. I fully support their sit-in to force a vote on commonsense gun laws. We are seeing tragedy after tragedy, and while we in Connecticut have acted with the smartest gun law in the nation, Republicans in Congress continue to stand in the way of meaningful changes to save lives. That’s why these actions in the House, with our delegation taking a leading role alongside Congressman Lewis, are so vital and necessary.”
On Wednesday night, Speaker Paul Ryan took over the podium in an effort to gain control and call on another vote, but then the House recessed again.
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