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 RyanDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage How does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act 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 PoeCook shifts two House GOP seats closer to Dem column Five races to watch in the Texas runoffs Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas 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 FeinsteinGillibrand calls for Kavanaugh nomination to be withdrawn Feinstein calls for hold on Kavanaugh consideration Grassley releases letter detailing Kavanaugh sexual assault allegation 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 Ann WarrenDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her More Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? MORE (D-Mass.), Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — GOP again has momentum on Kavanaugh rollercoaster Poll: Kaine leads GOP challenger by 19 points in Va. Senate race MORE (Va.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin: ‘No reason’ for people to remember Kavanaugh at party accuser describes Durbin: Kavanaugh's accuser is not being treated respectfully Grassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap MORE (Ill.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellPartisan politics at independent agency draws bipartisan rebuke Senators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Poll: Majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade MORE (Wash.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: NYT says Rosenstein wanted to wear wire on Trump | Twitter bug shared some private messages | Vendor put remote-access software on voting machines | Paypal cuts ties with Infowars | Google warned senators about foreign hacks Overnight Health Care: Opioids package nears finish line | Measure to help drug companies draws ire | Maryland ObamaCare rates to drop Google says senators' Gmail accounts targeted by foreign hackers 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 ClintonGraham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump Fox News poll shows Dems with edge ahead of midterms Poll: Democrats in position to retake the House 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 ClintonSexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not MORE and White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

 

 

 

Updated at 3:13 p.m.