Democrats are staging a sit-in on the House floor to push for action on gun control legislation.

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Dozens of Democrats were participating in the sit-in after it began Wednesday morning, with some lawmakers seated cross-legged on the floor.

Democrats have been pressing for action on gun control before the House leaves at the end of this week for a planned recess.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the veteran lawmaker who was brutally beaten by police in the 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Ala., began the sit-in by giving a speech while surrounded by his colleagues.

"We have turned deaf ears to the blood of the innocent and the deaths in our nation," he said. "Mr, Speaker, where is the heart of this body. Where is our soul?

"How many more mothers, how many more fathers have to share tears of grief before we decide to do anything?"

Shortly after Lewis spoke, the Democratic lawmakers sat down in the well of the House. 

The House was then gaveled into recess, and the chamber's C-SPAN cameras were turned off.

A spokeswoman for Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBottom line Ex-Trump chief of staff Priebus mulling Wisconsin governor bid In Marjorie Taylor Greene, a glimpse of the future MORE (R-Wis.) said that the chamber would be in recess as long as Democrats held up normal legislative business.
 
"The House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair," Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong tweeted.
 
Democrats indicated that they will continue the sit-in until GOP leaders allow a vote on gun legislation.
 
"Members are intending to stay until some action is taken," Lewis spokeswoman Brenda Jones said.
 
Just a week ago, Democrats took over the Senate floor to call attention to gun control.
 

At just before noon, Rep. Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeSheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade Senate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Texas New Members 2019 MORE (R-Texas) gaveled the House back into session and led members through a morning prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Democratic members on the floor stood for the pledge and prayer, but would not leave the well of the House after those ceremonies.  

"The House is not in a state of order due to the presence of members in the well," Poe said before asking them to leave. 

When he was ignored, he gaveled the House back into recess and the cameras again went dark. Poe’s call for order was barely audible in the chamber over the Democrats’ chants of “no bill, no break!”

"We'd love to show you what's happening on the House right now but those cameras are controlled by the House," C-SPAN's anchor said, shortly after Poe started the recess. 

Afterward, Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) led Democrats in a prayer for victims of gun violence. 
 
“Let’s have a real prayer!” shouted Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

The sit-in comes just more than a week after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, in which a gunman who pledged support for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Around the same time Democrats began their House floor sit-in on Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee rejected a proposal to prevent terror suspects from buying guns.

Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, offered an amendment to a Department of Homeland Security spending bill that reflects a measure authored by Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinProgressive support builds for expanding lower courts Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill What exactly are uber-woke educators teaching our kids? MORE (D-Calif.).

Feinstein's bill, which was rejected by the Senate on Monday, would grant the attorney general authority to block a gun sale if there is "reasonable belief" that the firearm would be used for terrorism. The measure would further require a procedure so that the Justice Department would be notified if a person investigated for terrorism in the last five years tries to buy a gun.

The committee defeated Lowey's amendment in a party-line vote.

The Senate on Monday night rejected four bills dealing with gun control. A separate bipartisan measure may come up for a vote later this week.

Photos of the sit-in were quickly shared on Twitter by lawmakers and their aides.

 

 

 

 

A number of Democratic senators crossed the Capitol to join in the protest.

 

In addition to Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenYellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill Hillicon Valley: Google lifting ban on political ads | DHS taking steps on cybersecurity | Controversy over TV 'misinformation rumor mills' MORE (D-Mass.), Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats in standoff over minimum wage Democrats plan crackdown on rising drug costs Overnight Health Care: Biden officials announce funding to track virus variants | Senate Dems unveil public option proposal | White House: Teacher vaccinations not required for schools to reopen MORE (Va.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinProgressive support builds for expanding lower courts McConnell backs Garland for attorney general Watch live: Senate Democratic leaders hold media availability MORE (Ill.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellVideo stirs emotions on Trump trial's first day Airlines warn of new furloughs without more federal aid Senate panel advances Buttigieg nomination in 21-3 vote MORE (Wash.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenYellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Hillicon Valley: Google lifting ban on political ads | DHS taking steps on cybersecurity | Controversy over TV 'misinformation rumor mills' 11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience' MORE (Ore.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) were among the senators who took part in the sit-in.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCruz: Wife 'pretty pissed' about leaked Cancun texts CBC would back Young for OMB if Tanden falls Hillary Clinton to co-write political thriller MORE, who met with House Democrats on Capitol Hill earlier on Wednesday, praised the protest on Twitter, as did former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonJudge rejects Biden request for delay in Trump environmental rollback case Considering impeachment's future We need a social media early warning center MORE and White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

 

 

 

Updated at 3:13 p.m.