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.

 
"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 PoeTexas New Members 2019 Cook shifts two House GOP seats closer to Dem column Five races to watch in the Texas runoffs 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 FeinsteinKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Feinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape 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 WarrenSanders endorses Oakland teachers strike On The Money: Dems set Tuesday vote on Trump's emergency declaration | Most Republicans expected to back Trump | Senate plots to avoid fall shutdown drama | Powell heading before Congress News media has sought to 'delegitimize' Tulsi Gabbard, says liberal journalist MORE (D-Mass.), Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Kaine asks Shanahan if military families would be hurt by moving .6B for border wall MORE (Va.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Senate plots to avoid fall shutdown brawl Overnight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run MORE (Ill.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenate votes to extend key funding mechanism for parks White House poised to take action on AI, 5G Overnight Energy: States press Trump on pollution rules | EPA puts climate skeptic on science board | Senate tees up vote on federal lands bill MORE (Wash.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Top Dems call for end to Medicaid work rules | Chamber launching ad blitz against Trump drug plan | Google offers help to dispose of opioids Top Dems call for end to Medicaid work rules after 18,000 lose coverage in Arkansas Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes 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 ClintonDem strategist says Clinton ‘absolutely’ has a role to play in 2020 Left-leaning journalist: Sanders would be 'formidable candidate' against Trump Clinton hits EPA for approval of pesticide dump: ‘We need bees!’ 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 ClintonInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Howard Schultz must run as a Democrat for chance in 2020 Trump says he never told McCabe his wife was 'a loser' MORE and White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

 

 

 

Updated at 3:13 p.m.