House Democrats end sit-in after 25 hours - WFSB 3 Connecticut

House Democrats end sit-in after 25 hours

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House Democrats stage sit-in into Thursday monring. House Democrats stage sit-in into Thursday monring.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WFSB) -

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives including the five members of the Connecticut Delegation held the floor for more than 25 hours in protest over gun laws.

The sit-in on the chamber floor ended on Thursday afternoon, but lawmakers said they will keep pushing for votes on gun legislation.

The gun control effort kicked off Wednesday just before 11:30 a.m. inside the House Chamber in Washington D.C.   

Exactly one week after Sen. Chris Murphy held a nearly 15 hour filibuster, members of the Connecticut delegation joined other Democrats in trying to force Republicans to pass tougher gun control measures. In total more than 170 people joined the site-in.

"The American people are with us and people around the world are with us,” Georgian Rep. John Lewis said. “Thank you very much."

The House adjourned at 3 a.m. on Thursday after passing a bill on funding to combat the Zika virus, but Democrats have not gone home.

Even with the House adjourned until after the July 4 break, lawmakers said they were prepared to stick around as long as it takes.

"No bill, no break!" yelled Democrats.

Lawmakers shouted down House Speaker Paul Ryan and demanded a vote on the "No Fly, No Buy" bill designed to keep anyone on a terror watch list from buying a gun.

"Newtown, Charleston, Orlando. What is the tipping point? Are we blind? Speaker Ryan is calling the sit-in a publicity stunt and said there will be no vote on gun legislation," said Georgia Rep. John Lewis.  

Ryan responded swiftly.

"If this is not a political stunt, then why are they trying to raise money off of this? They're sending out fundraising solicitations like this one,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said.

Even after the TV cameras in the House, which are controlled by the Speaker, were shut off, Democrats let the rest of their sit-in continue airing on social media.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas set up a Facebook live feed of the sit-in because the cameras are controlled by the Republicans, whom have the majority. 

"In the 25 hours, we occupied to the house,” Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said. "I think we showed the American people what a vigorous democracy looks like and what effect gun violence has on America." 

Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro spoke twice and called for Congress to address universal background checks. She made it clear that she does not want to allow potential terrorists to get their hands on guns as well as banning assault rifles.

Some of the families, who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook massacre, spoke about the sit-in and praying it brings change.

Nicole Hockley’s son Dylan was one of the 20 innocent lives taken in Newtown when gunman Adam Lanza stormed the school.

"I've been waiting for this to happen for the last 3 and a half years since my son was killed,” Hockley said. “We have seen action billed and then stalled but the momentum continues to build, and this sit-in is saying we need a vote."

The motion to table the Collins Amendment, which preventing terror suspects from purchasing firearms, failed and lost by a vote of 46-52 on Thursday. Murphy said the National Rifle Association tried to shoot down a Republican compromise. 

However, Murphy said the NRA "lost" and now, the Collins Amendment will be considered by the Senate. 

“Today’s vote represented the largest defection of Republicans from the gun lobby in the modern history of the anti-gun violence movement, and it signals that the ground is shifting under our feet on this issue. Yes, Leader McConnell should have just moved straight to an up or down vote on this bipartisan, commonsense measure, but today’s vote is a signal that the gun lobby’s grip on Congress is slowly slipping away," Murphy said in a statement on Thursday. 

Murphy said the Senate filibuster, the House sit-in, and this vote have "helped create a massive uprising of support in favor of laws to make our nation safer from gun violence, and while I know we are far from the finish line, this has been a momentous last eight days for this crusade.”

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