House Dem to boycott moments of silence for victims of mass shootings
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) says he won’t participate in any more moments of silence on the House floor for victims of mass shootings out of frustration that they don’t lead to action on gun control.

In a House floor speech on Monday, the day after the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Himes said the moments of silence offer a symbol of lawmakers’ lack of a legislative response to mass shootings.

“Silence. That is how the leadership of the most powerful country in the world will respond to this week’s massacre of its citizens,” he said.

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“Silence. Not me. Not anymore. I will no longer stand here absorbing the faux concern, contrived gravity and tepid smugness of a House complicit in the weekly bloodshed,” Himes said angrily.

Sunday’s attack at the Orlando nightclub, where 49 people died, has been deemed by federal authorities as the deadliest mass shooting in American history. FBI Director James Comey said Monday that the perpetrator, who was killed by police during the shooting, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a 911 call.

Himes concluded his remarks by questioning the consciences of fellow lawmakers participating in moments of silence after mass shootings.

“As you bow your head and think of what you say to your God when you are asked what you did to slow the slaughter of innocents, there will be silence,” Himes said.

Himes first declared his boycott of future moments of silence in a series of tweets late Sunday night, writing that they “have become an abomination.”

Himes isn’t the first House Democrat to express frustration with moments of silence in response to gun violence. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) said after the December shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that she’ll no longer stand during the moments of silence.

And Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) shouted “Now let’s do something!” last October after the House held a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting at an Oregon community college.

Republicans have maintained that overhauling the mental healthcare system would help prevent mass shootings. But a bill authored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) has stalled in committee over the last year.

The Senate is expected to hold a moment of silence for the Orlando shooting victims when it convenes later Monday afternoon. The House will also conduct a moment of silence when it holds its first votes of the week Monday night.