House Democrats staged a sit-down protest today, June 22, as they seek a vote on legislation regulating the sale of firearms. The showdown follows a recent mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
According to the Associated Press, the protesting group consists of about 30 Democratic representatives, led by Georgia congressman John Lewis. Lewis is the only living member of the “Big Six,” a group of civil-rights leaders that once included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former executive director of the NAACP Roy Wilkins.
The group is demanding that Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan keep the House in session through a planned recess next week, in order to debate and eventually vote on proposed gun-control legislation. “No bill, no break,” the representatives reportedly chanted before taking position on the House floor.
“Now is the time for us to find a way to dramatize it, to make it real,” Lewis said in an address just prior to the sit-in. “We have to occupy the floor of the House until there is action.”